Haiti: Dynamic "Deep-end-ency"

We wanted to put together the right team doing the right thing with the right people. Unfortunately, “no one from headquarters or the field can accompany you, and, we think it would be a good fit for you...

By Pam Bandy

Haiti 1979

I went to Cap-Haitien as a teenager with my dad to experience firsthand what my parents, missionaries Gene and Juanita Bertolet, had experienced. We gave away 100 children’s outfits sewn by my Grandma Bertolet. The trip leader was Dave Graffenberger, Field Director. I felt safe and comfortable. It was like playing in a baby pool.

Haiti 2008

I went to the mountain region of Deyemon with my husband and 11 others to hold VBS and youth rallies. This was a first for the people in that area, but we were with seasoned missionaries who knew the culture and language. I felt confident and comfortable, like wading into the shallow end.
Team with Karly's family.
Team with Karly's family.

Haiti 2018

We wanted to put together the right team doing the right thing with the right people. Unfortunately, “no one from headquarters or the field can accompany you, and, we think it would be a good fit for you to work with a Haitian pastor you haven’t met, but has a ministry with children/youth.” Whoa! I was anything but comfortable with this, and it felt equivalent to jumping into the deep end of unknown waters in the dark.
JoEllen with her baking class.
JoEllen with her Baking Class.
Our desire was to be a part of something that would have an ongoing impact. As we sought the Holy Spirit’s guidance and attempted to “meet” Pastor Karly Jean via the internet, GOD began revealing threads in the tapestry He had seen since the beginning of time. JoEllen Lengacher and her three children, Jake, Bethany, and Eli, would join us along with Andrew Rudge whose father and sister had been a part of our 2008 team.
We worked on a plan for morning VBS followed by afternoon “life skill” classes. But, how would it actually work? As the date of our departure rapidly approached, the hill of unknowns was reaching mountainous proportions.
GOD, in His infinite wisdom and grace, revealed more threads. Pastor Karly had two recently donated stoves for use in starting a bakery. He asked if anyone on our team could connect these to large propane tanks. My husband had the experience and knowledge. Karly’s second question came almost immediately, “Could anyone teach bread making to a group of women who would do the baking to feed children and to bring in money so these children could attend area schools?” GOD had divinely prepared JoEllen and Bethany the year before when they taught a bread making class. They had the expertise to teach how to make all types of breads, pastries, cakes, and more.
Bethany with her Sewing Class.
Bethany with her Sewing Class.
We taught sewing to the young ladies and crafts to younger children. The men on the team taught basic electricity skills with each of the 18 students earning his own set of tools.
Not only did GOD show His immediate plan to be present in the right place at the right time with the right people to do exactly what needed done for Pastor Karly’s ministry, He is allowing us to see and experience the ongoing effects of our short time with our brothers and sisters in the South.
Mike, Jake, Andrew with the Electricity Class.
Mike, Jake, Andrew with the Electricity Class.
The bakery officially opened in late August. The older girls have already taught younger girls and young men to sew clothing. The men who learned electrical skills have taken them back to their church es, villages, and places of work. The children have begun daily reading of and memorizing Scripture and have taken an active role in keeping the area clean.
Swimming pool at the Villa in Port-au-Prince.
Swimming pool at the Villa in Port-au-Prince.
It is hard to put into words GOD’s incredibly perfect timing. We see such a microcosm of what He sees and knows in its entirety. We see random threads; He, the Artist, sees the finished work. All too often, we think comfort in skill level. He, however, calls for “deep-end” trust or “deep-end-ency”.

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