Read part one here.
1. When are you getting married?
See this post.
2. Do you work a job when you are in the United States?
My parents own a lawn care and landscaping business. When I am in the States, I work for them. I also have a landscaping client and do odd jobs such as catering, babysitting, and painting from time to time. I have funded 90% of my mission work this way.
3. Are you fluent in Haitian Creole?
Yes. I am fluent and able to talk about any topic I wish. However, I still have much to learn, and am always looking to increase my vocabulary.
4. What are your favorite things about Haitian culture? Your least favorite?
A few of my favorite things: the relaxed pace of life, the closeness of family, the importance of face to face relationships, support for those who lose a loved one or are sick, the admiration of and care for pregnant women, lack of materialism, and holding possessions lightly, the love of good music, skillful dancing, and singing, bluntness and openness, joy in the smallest things even when life is hard, the way people dress up nice for every event, unplanned outings and visitors.
My least favorite things about the culture: the strong influence of Voodou that creates a dark atmosphere, beating around the bush to get a simple answer, gossip and the fear of being gossiped about, that to be the friend of one person is to be the enemy of another, always having to choose sides or being assigned one if you do not, the wide acceptance of spousal abuse, the pressure to maintain an image for those you represent (parents, friends, teacher, spouse), talking it out seldom solves disagreements, the downplaying of child-slaves, offending someone of power can get you murdered, having money or white skin makes simple things dangerous, boiled goat always has hair on it (a minor dislike lol).
5. What is the weirdest thing you have eaten?
Most Americans would say cat. But by texture, I would have to say cow intestine or goatskin.
6. Have you ever been scared in Haiti?
In Haiti, several amazing and protective men surround me. The only time I feel unsafe is when I am not with one of them. I can remember a few uncomfortable situations when on walks alone. Overall, I know how risky Haiti is, but I do not often feel it in the moment. Only afterward do I think about the what-ifs.
7. What are some things you know now that you did not know before about ministering in a foreign country? What preparation did you lack?
Mission work is lonely. Reaching people without taking the time to learn the language is nearly impossible. Adjusting to another culture takes time, and there are many things so ingrained in yourself from your own culture that you can never really lose. The pictures you see do not tell the realities of the daily hardships and struggles. 90% of ministry is mundane. Humility is needed more than skill. The most significant impact takes place inside of yourself. Many areas of ministry require a man. Moving onto the mission field as a single woman would leave one very handicapped to make a well-rounded impact.
8. Do you see yourself in the same ministry long term?
I see myself involved in ministry in Haiti indefinitely, but I can not say if the Lord has other means of ministering that He will bring before us. Nelson and I dream of eventually having a ministry of our own, notably, working with street kids and young moms. For now, we are just happy to be available to GSA and open to whatever ways the Lord will use us.
Spiritual Questions & Prayer Points
1. What does Haiti practically need most?
Good unified godly leadership of the country. Well-armed and better-trained police force. Opportunity for education among the poor. Broader organized medical care.
2. Are there spiritual strongholds in Haiti that are more evident in Haiti long-term than you might see in a short term mission trip?
Oh yes! You will not begin to scratch the surface of the spiritual condition of Haiti during a short-term trip. Satan wreaks havoc through any means, especially breaking down trusts, dividing, and using Voodou to inflict fear and paralysis.
3. How does poverty in Haiti compare to other countries in South America?
According to the economists of Focus Economics, “More than 6 million out of 10.4 million Haitians live under the national poverty line of USD 2.41 per day and over 2.5 million live under the national extreme poverty line of USD 1.23 per day.”
GDP per capita can be an indicator of the standard of living of a given country, as it reflects the average wealth of each person residing in a country. Based on its GDP in 2017, Haiti is the most poverty-stricken nation in the Americas and the sixth in the world. Compare that to Mexico, the sixty-fourth, and you get an idea.
4. Does America give aid to Haiti?
Yes, some. However, over the years, the impact has mostly damaged the economy of Haiti. Foreign aid, when not properly handled, often becomes a handicap rather than a help. It has specifically affected the food industry, creating a reliance on American imports instead of self-reliance.
5. Are there still many missionaries in Haiti with all the unrest?
I know a few who have decided to stay. I also know of many who have pulled out of Haiti within the last year specifically. The number of full-time missionaries is becoming fewer and fewer.
6. What are three things I can pray specifically for Haiti and those ministering there?
I would say number one is joyful endurance. It does not look as if Haiti will get better soon. It takes perseverance to stay during unrest when the impact seems small and the darkness great. And it must be coupled with joy.
Second, protection and freedom to keep on ministering. Pray that despite the unrest, kidnapping, and violence, doors would stay open to reach people and help our Haitian brothers and sisters.
For Haiti, the greatest need of all is a real encounter with Jesus. Pray for Voodou strongholds to fall, the power of Satan to be defeated, for light to shine into all the dark corners and bring transformation. And for true revival.
Thank you, each of you, for your questions and your support.
In Christ, Rachel