-I recently returned to Haiti for two months after a one-year absence. My heart overflowed the first couple weeks of reunions! My former students at Cowman International School stopped for a hug and a kiss at every possible chance; how I missed those little rascals! I taught fifth grade for the last three weeks of school and organized the school’s annual Fun in the Sun Day. It was a blast! I believe the highlight was our “Teacher Target” station, where students got to hurl soaked sponges at our brave teachers. However, stress from the field’s difficult land situation and political tensions in the community quickly stole our focus as we begged God to guide us through the turmoil. Many of our last smiles for our students were painful as our hearts cried for our family, our campus, and the community of Vaudrieul. As chaotic and heart-wrenching as it was, I believe it was a time of strengthening for the OMS family on the Haiti field. In every discussion, I witnessed pure hearts cry that these difficult times would further the Gospel in the community, that this situation would exalt Jesus; and while we didn’t understand, I saw so much willingness to suffer for Christ and His kingdom. As a young woman just beginning her missionary journey, it was so encouraging to see how the years our long-termers have invested in and sincerely cared for the Haitian people produced a huge spiritual blessing in a very dark time. It manifested itself as a whole community of faithful believers interceding in prayer! It was a hug and a kiss from the cleaning ladies to encourage me to “kenbe fem” (stay strong). It was singing praises with the kitchen ladies while we washed the dishes and tried not to cry. It was watching an Almighty God provide a solution when every possible solution had been rejected and exhausted. Upon my return, I have been asked if I had a fun trip. It makes me chuckle! I don’t know if being stretched spiritually, emotionally, in my giftings, and every other area of my life to an extent that one begins to feel broken can be classified as fun, but it resulted in incredible joy that made this trip my most meaningful yet. And as I led my most frustrating and difficult student to the Lord on the last day of summer school, I realized that every single moment is and was worth it.
On a personal note Julie and I have left Haiti temporarily to adopt our nephew, Jacob. We are currently in Canada going through the adoption process and hope to be back in Haiti for the start of the next semester at Emmaus.
Emmaus Biblical Seminary continues to advance. On May 11, 19 men and women graduated, equipped to serve the Kingdom in Hai-ti. We have also started construction on a new classroom and office building in order to accommodate our growing class sizes and faculty. Also, this semester Emmaus started a new master’s in education program in the hope of training and influencing the future and current educational leaders in Haiti for Christ. But the biggest advancement, the biggest news of this semester was that the Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association granted EBS accreditation. Emmaus is the first school to be granted accreditation by CETA in either Haiti or the Dominican Republic. This is a massive achievement which Emmaus has been working toward for over a decade. Accreditation means that a degree from Emmaus is the equal of any post-secondary degree in the world. We praise God and give Him the glory for the blessings that he has poured out upon us so that we can serve Him more effectively.
Bethesda Medical Centre’s physio department also continues to advance. The beautiful new building was opened at the start of January and Altidor, a local physio technician, started working with Julie the first day that they were opened. They have been work-ing hard ever since. Altidor is learning quickly and since Julie left the clinic in March she has been doing an excellent job on her own.
Dr. Rodney Baptiste had a very successful fund raising trip to Western Canada in February raising more than $80,000 for the clinic. That is almost enough to supply them with medicine for a whole year! Bethesda is very thankful to God for His provision!
-Bill and Julie Edler