Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
It was December 2010, almost a year after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti that our much anticipated ship arrived at the dock in Jacmel, Haiti. It was the culmination of countless hours of work by dedicated and loving people, many generous donations, and tons of prayer. As we off loaded the ship I was extremely excited about one trailer in particular. This trailer, not only contained a lot of needed materials it also contained some commercial kitchen appliances and the jewel of the fleet, an incredible, and complete, wood shop that had been very lovingly donated to the people of Haiti. As trailers and equipment were hooked up and pulled off the ship, I kept looking for this one trailer (guys and tools, its a sickness). It was close to 2 AM and starting to rain, when we finally came to the last trailer on the ship. The trailer that was supposed to be our tool shop trailer. Only it wasn’t. I’d never seen this trailer before. As we opened it up, we stood dumbfounded. It was a 45 foot commercial trailer loaded front to back, with empty plastic, one gallon containers. Not exactly the tool shop I was hoping to see. Something happened then, that I can only describe as God’s intervention. I could write a book on the difficulties of getting that load, the team, and the equipment we had, over for this particular operation. On this particular day, rioting had broken out across the entire nation of Haiti, the ship owner, fearing he might loose his ship, had ordered the captain to return to Puerto Rico, with the load. We had to make a decision to offload the ship, without authorization and didn’t even begin until 10 PM. On the docks we incited a group of intoxicated voodoo guys, and eventually brought down the port authorities and Haitian police. Now it was raining, we were going to have to stay on the dock until sunrise, AND THEY LOADED THE WRONG TRAILER!!!
I should have, and under normal circumstances, would have snapped, but there was a peace. It was as though the Lord asked me, “Who’s operation is this?” I was reminded of something a very trusted brother-in-the-Lord, had shared with me years earlier. He said, “You have a lot of ideas, some of them are even good.” Our trailer, still back in Puerto Rico, would remain there for another 3 1/2 years. I knew there was a reason it worked out this way, I just didn’t have a clue what that reason was.
Earlier this year, I began working with our church in Puerto Rico, to get the trailer returned to the USA. I figured it wasn’t doing anyone any good there, so we might as well bring it back and do something with it. I was a bit grieved, because I really felt like it was supposed to go to Haiti, and was going to contact the donor and find out what they would like done with the shop. The guys in Puerto Rico, worked tirelessly trying to get the trailer shipped home, but met one road block after another. I was really beginning to wonder if it was supposed to come back or not.
One day, my wife Amie, was on-line and noticed that the Hands and Feet orphanage, in Jacmel, was beginning a program to provide occupational training to their older children. These children, were eventually going to have to leave the orphanage, but needed skills and a marketplace to survive. It was like the lights went on!!! We weren’t supposed to have that work shop, they were. They are a wonderful organization, that we had partnered with, but now we had an opportunity to bless their children in the name of Christ. The founder of Hands and Feet Ministries, Mark Stuart, was told about the shop and very thankfully accepted the offer. I can’t tell you how quickly and easily (the guys in Puerto Rico did an incredible job...thanks Alfonso) that trailer was loaded onto a ship in Puerto Rico, loaded onto another ship in the Dominican Republic, and delivered directly to Jacmel and our property.
I pray that as our churches in Haiti continue to grow and God’s Word changes lives, that we will continue to partner with these works, as well as new works, like the vocational trailer center at Hands and Feet. I pray that we will continue to send those of you with desires to serve and teach, and in doing so we will see a nation turn from its’ dark ways to the glorious light of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Again, I really don’t have any idea what this is going to look like and am just along for the ride....but what a ride it has been...