"He must increase, I must decrease." John 3:30
Sustainability is selfless. Sustainability is sacred, and it is scriptural. Missions is the intersection of both selflessness and sustainability. Since the birth of Konbit we have been committed to holistically serving our community. Committed to that verse in John quoted above.
That verse has been the aim of our work. It has showed up in our relationships with God, in our work, and in our innate humanity. It has served as a reminder that all we experience is a gift from our Father, and our plans are all safe in His hands. For this newsletter I’d like to reflect and teach a little bit of our heart behind missions. A reminder of why Konbit is in Lafferonnay, why we started the projects we did, and where they’re projected to go.
Their voices increase, ours decrease
As the American staff has been Stateside for four months, we have been able to reflect on our work. To look from different perspective and see all the beauty that is there. The mission and heart of our work is to empower Haitians both spiritually and physically. To come alongside our neighbors and let them lead the vision of where they want to go. It has looked like small business startups, road repairs, clean water wells, breakfast clubs, loud laughter in the streets, and so many other wonderful things. Each movement full of the truth that our neighbors know more, deserve more, and should lead more. Their voices must increase, as ours decrease.
Before any community development project was launched, we gathered around our wooden table with community leaders to discuss approaches. Often our Haitian friends would think of strategies, ideas, and plans that worked way better than our American patterns. While their culture influences increase, ours must decrease. This brings to mind one of the first times Jenna experienced a headache living in Haiti. Immediately she went to find Advil, however our Haitian friend shook her head slowly and spoke of a leaf that would naturally relieve all head pain. She found two leaves and placed them carefully over the soles of her flip flops. An hour later, head pain subsided, and the new medication became a part of her remedy. This is a small example of the philosophy KONBIT strives to live out.
Since evacuation we have seen how living this verses out in KONBIT creates sustainability. It has been one of the most beautiful things our organization has witnessed. Kitson is fully running our tutoring program. Assigning extra homework, sitting longer with kids, writing weekly devotions, and filling the community center with laughter and encouragement. We are so proud of him and are championing everything he is doing.
Stanley is filling M2W buckets and the hearts of the vulnerable elders. He’s sitting under shaded spots reflecting on Scripture, listening to stories, and praying for needs. Stanley is incredible at what he does, and we are constantly learning from him. He and his wife just opened their first business with a KONBIT loan, their local pharmacy is pictured below. We are proud of them and will be praying provision over their shop.
Selfishly we all want to be with them. The photos of smiley faces and spicy food come with a pinch of pain as we long for our reunion. However, we are watching the fulfillment of our mission. We are watching our Haitian staff run things with excellence, and our community thrive together. Our Haitian staff running these programs is the most sustainable approach to missions, and it requires us to maintain a posture of selflessness. God must increase, we must decrease.
As we are stateside, we are continuing to fundraise and advocate for our ministry. We recently had a fundraiser in Cape Girardeau hosted by Jeff and Pat Fanger. This was an incredibly successful night as we got to share about our M2W program and the Assisted Living Home. In fact, we are over halfway funded for the whole project!! Jeff, Kris, and Jenna are gearing up for their trip back to Haiti for a few days in April. We are hopeful we can move the project further along while they are on the ground but are still needing financial partners to sponsor and room. If you would like to donate, host a fundraiser, or partner with us please let us know!
We don’t know what the future holds for us. But we are confident that we continue to trust God day by day, everything will work out. We are expectant to see how He will increase.