Since the big distraction in the world today, and truly a matter of significance, is the developing scenario of COVID-19 we will address it first. Then we can focus on things of greater importance in The Kingdom of God. (If you are avoiding news of the virus, please skip down to the photo)
We know much of the world is in some form of lockdown, and the same is true here in Haiti! The borders are closed and commercial flights are suspended. We anticipated this development several weeks ago, and the decision for us to stay through this time in Haiti or return to the States was a big one. The decision to remain was made, and we watched as the last few flights came and went, taking thousands of Haiti missionaries and expats with them. President Jovenal Moise closed Haiti's borders originally for 30 days and then on Monday extended it for another 30 days due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. The medical community here is, at best, unequipped to handle critical care, let alone an epidemic of any kind.
Praise be to God that this virus is so susceptible to sunlight and heat! I believe the relative slow progression of the disease here in Haiti is a direct result of the "outdoor lifestyle," abundant sun, the heat, and lack of air-conditioned homes. All public gatherings, churches, schools, business meetings, etc. have been forbidden, along with many businesses being closed as well. We hear this is now "normal" for most countries but here in Haiti there is a big difference. Many, or I should say most people here, live "hand-to-mouth," each day only providing what is needed to exist, and to stay home would mean no daily bread. Especially for the mountain people who depend on selling their produce twice a week in order to buy basics like rice and flour, the command to stay home would be a sentence to starvation.
Gospel work carries on. This month we had just under 1000 copies of our "Into The Word" gospel pamphlets passed out in the marketplaces and people continue to show great desire for these articles. To answer the many questions we were being asked, and much to our neighbors' delight, we printed information on the virus in Creole and collated it with this last edition.
Pray for us as we continue to work on these written messages of Gospel Truth. Our desire is to provide pertinent and persuasive teaching from Scripture, that will challenge and encourage the hearts of many more people than we can physically reach and speak to in our day to day lives.
Michael has devotions with our employees each day, teaching them the Scriptures and discipling them. We were sad to have to put the Wednesday Bible studies on hold, but Michael turned that energy and time into the noon devotions and that has been a blessing for all of us. It is wonderful to see the truth of Scripture bring light and change through the working of the Holy Spirit. He has also been more active in the larger community and has become somewhat of a consultant for the local magistrates and community leaders as they make decisions about development projects, healthcare options, distribution of information, and other things.
In our "free time," we continue with the oodles of house projects here. Repairing and waterproofing the leaking cistern is almost complete and meanwhile we haul much of our water from a source down the mountain. Sunday evening a careless driver backed his truck into our fence tearing a hole in it, so that needs repaired next. Michael has spent quite a few days in Ti Goave, renewing our plethora of required legal documents, and doing a project for a longtime friend at Top Glace (an ice and water bottling plant).
Rainy season will be upon us soon and we are looking forward to the cooler afternoons, beautiful, refreshing thunderstorms turning the world green and fresh again! The kids love spending time outside and we have found a solution that has seemed fairly reliable for controlling the fire ants. The children are getting growing so fast, Junior loves to do school now and Lydia loves play cooking and "feeding" people her plastic masterpieces.
For those of you who take time to pray for us, we want to say thank you. We need your prayers, we need encouragement and strength from the Lord.
In His Service, Michael, Breanna, Michael Jr., and Lydia Rudolph family