May all this be true for you and your family!
Living The Life That God Has For Us....
God's Plumbline Ministries is called to repair devastation in the lives of God's people allowing restoration both physically and spiritually. Providing creative solutions for employment, education and life skills allowing God to repair and restore hope. Empowering each community to establish a secure foundation both inside and out, while keeping in tact God given talents and uniqueness, not focusing on man's ways but God's ways. Developing working relationships within social and economic circles, working hand in hand with community leaders to bring the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Monday, March 14, 2016
Proverbs say so much. Painting pictures that help us understand life, often coming from a place we may have never experienced, yet we all can relate from a place of our common humanity.
We have all seen a tiny bird making trips back and forth, back and forth, back and forth all day long. Busy, focused with tenacity.
Collecting all the resources needed to build his nest.
Nests are homes.
Places of rest, safety and family.
This proverb is perfect.
Little by little a bird builds its nest.
Piti piti zwazo fè nich li.
Here are a few pictures of the nest Vedette is building.
It is hers and it is awesome.
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Our big day had finally come and we headed out beach road to a village called Canaan. You will find a huge new street market full of many stalls with people selling just about anything you can imagine. It was odd to see this huge new market in a place that has always been barren. But after the earthquake there have been many who started to build homes here, because the Haitian government gave away several hundred plots of land to single women. Little by little life is moving this way, yet many still prefer to be in Port Au Prince and not have to travel in each day for work.
For Vadette, life will be different as well, but in a much better way. She will not only live outside of Port, but once her house is finished she can work from home and only go to the workshop once a week to fill her sewing orders.
We made our quick thirty-minute drive out of Port to Canaan to see her land. A brand new well was being drilled that day and a new church was under construction. The whole village was standing around watching the red dirt fly hoping for the sign of water.
We pulled up to the corner lot just down from the church and the new well. Little by little the foundation has been put in place on her land. She was very proud to show me how hard she had worked to get this far. In a developing area like this you are always in fear of squatters taking possession of your land. All was well when we arrived.
I was bursting to tell her that she was going to be able to finish her whole house! I had hopped to have a little video to share, but the well drilling and wind put an end to that idea. Sadly.
It is hard for me to find the words to describe what it was really like when the words “YOU GET TO BUILD YOUR HOUSE” burst out of my mouth. I think she was a bit caught off guard actually, but yet, she had to have been hoping this was finally the day.
Her whole face light up like a child completely filled with JOY! Finally, after all my explaining about the Lord seeing all her hard work, Him loving her, me loving her and the love of people at CROSSFIELDS who heard her story, she put her hands to heaven and said, MESI JEZI. Yes, thank you Jesus! Her smile, never left her face and is still in my head. It is a sweet memory indeed knowing all that this will mean for her and her daughter.
Her 18 ft. x 14ft. foundation will hold a small kitchen and bathroom in the back of the house, a living room in the front and a bedroom on the left and right. She will have a cute front porch and yes, a front door of her very own.
Construction is scheduled to start 2/15/16!
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
As she sat down in the office of the Women’s Education Center, I asked if she would like a piece of the cake the cooking ladies had given me. After all, what was I going to do with a whole cake, and “cake helps people talk to strangers” was my thinking. The ladies in the office said she needed to eat “real” food first. She agreed, sort of. I said she could have the rest of my coke if she would like. She smiled.
She was dressed neatly in a brown polka dot skirt, a turquoise striped top and sandals. Her hair was in braids that traveled away from her face, stopping in the middle of her head, rows standing on end, not gathered together in a bun or bow. Just like all twelve year olds, it would be a few years before she grew into her toothy smile.
Alexandra is twelve, she is adorable and she is a restavek. She gets up at six a.m. each morning to cook, clean and wash dishes for the family who has taken her in. They are her extended family. She isn’t sure how, they are just cousins. Her mother died and she isn’t sure when or how. Her father is a farmer in the Province and he has a few animals and crops he tends to with her two brothers. Her sister is Port, living just as she does with a different extended family member. She guessed she has lived away from her family for a year now, and doesn’t think she will see them again. It all seemed to come across more like math flash cards she had learned and had little to do with her.
No, she had never been to school before, no she doesn’t have a favorite Bible story or scripture, but she does go to church. She can’t remember the name of the lady that told her about the Literacy classes or even how it was that she got to come to school. There wasn’t much in the way of conversation, I mean other than the cake being good. She seemed to enjoy sitting in a room full of grown ups and was willing to answer my questions in return for all the new attention.
When I asked what was she most proud of, her whole face lit up, her bright white teeth and smile no longer hidden. “EVERYTHING”, she said. Now I was getting somewhere. What was she working on in class? The letter “L” and reading. What did she want to be when she grew up? A nurse.
We talked about education, how she would have to try hard to go to school to be a nurse. The reality is, she will need an advocate to help plow through the years she has missed already in terms of education. She will need a voice to speak up for her when she has lots of chores, knowing school comes last.
Yet, the seeds have been planted in her mind for the things beyond what she has seen in the tattered pages of her new reading book. I could already see it in her face.
As we finished up our time together, I said she needed to quickly finish up her cake and drink her coke. She looked at the ladies in the office and said her coke was warm now and she needed ice. We all laughed. Yes, we needed to get her in school. She had something special.
I wandered into the Literacy class and sat on a bench next to her. She wasn’t impressed and had nothing to say. I said I was the Professor for the day and would give her an exam.
So, I pushed the envelope a bit and took her reading book out from under her hands.
Her teacher would come to her rescue and get her off the hook with my teasing. I asked if I could take her picture and she agreed. I explained that I thought coming to Literacy class was one of the bravest things a woman could do and it took courage. I asked if we could talk more later. She agreed.
The next time we would talk she reminded me her name was Marie, since I am horrible with names. This time I made sure I shared our cake, since I had been warned she was mean. When I offered cake as a peace offering, she laughed as if she too was twelve. But unlike Alexandra, she had grown into her beautiful smile. She wore medium sized pearl earrings that seemed to be a perfect fit for her refined personality. Her hair was braided and pulled away from her face in a neat bun with a black ribbon.
She softened as we talked and she explained that before she came to school she used to sell “pepe”(used clothing) on the street with her family. I didn’t ask her age. I guessed in the ballpark of thirty-eight knowing she had a son who is twenty. This was her first time at school, just like Alexandra. School had not worked for her because people are not patient with her and she cries about learning. I wondered what all that meant.
Soon she told me she was keeping school a secret from her husband. I asked if she remembered our previous conversation about coming to school. She did, and I reminded her about being brave and having courage. She said he would only say she is too old for such things. She did tell her son and only him. She said her son was glad for her, but her husband won’t know because he works away from home all week while she cares for their son and seven year old daughter.
When she talked about her family and coming to school, she no longer had any interest in eating my cake and wanted to take it with her. She opened up even more and shared so much about herself. I knew no one in the room would think she was mean anymore. “She was only shy and scared,” I said after we finished.
She said that a friend in cooking class told her about Literacy and that it was free. She agreed it was a good time to learn to read and write. I asked her what was her favorite thing about what she had learned in school. She said, “I can send text messages to my son on my phone.”
I loved her answer! I laughed out loud; that was so great. I never thought about that before. Wow! A whole new world had just opened to her. Math was good too.
In closing, I asked her what she wanted to do when she finished Literacy. “Why, come to cooking classes and go to sewing school,” she said like I should have already known the answer to such an obvious question. Again, I laughed. Yes, I should have known this too.
No matter if you are twelve or thirty-eight”ish” the world becomes a whole new place once you have the ability to read and write. It is a gift. Mothers need to read directions for medicine and help with homework. If they have jobs they need to understand a contract. There is another world that opens up to readers, as well, when they are able to read the Gospel for themselves. Education in developing countries is hands down the most important tool we can give.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Adding Hope to Layers of Complicated
The best way I know how to explain the work I do in Haiti is “layers of complicated”. Meaning, most solutions have multiple answers and some times you need to fix a handful of things to fix the first problem you intended to fix in the beginning.
Let me explain.
When we started our sewing school in Haiti in November 2007 our goal was simple. Keep mothers and children together so that children wouldn’t be raised in orphanages.
Step one: Give women an education, teaching them to read, write and sew. This would create the ability to provide for their families. When the first class graduated, we very quickly found that Haiti had little to offer in employment.
Step two: Find jobs for the graduates. We would create products (first purses) for visiting mission groups to purchase when they came to visit Haiti. We could create a small on site store for folks to purchase purses our ladies had made from donated fabric. This quickly grew into teams wanting to take out suitcases full of products to sell at home shopping parties. With the greater demand we could launch a website for on line sales.
Some of these layers had to do with the growth we experienced as our work expanded, which was great! The other kind of layer came from getting to know the ladies we work with and their life struggles. It also comes from learning the ebb and flow of the day to day unspoken challenges of poverty and dealing with life in a developing country such as Haiti.
I am still amazed at the things I learn on this journey of sustainability for women and children and the things I take for granted. Have you ever thought about your front door, and what life would look like if someone could just come and take off your front door? Let’s say, you rented your house and the Landlord came and said, he wanted more money and until he got more money he would take the front door. You couldn’t get to the police, they won’t help and you don’t have a contract; no one told you you needed one. You just paid him the money so you would have a place to live. Really, it is just a tiny cinderblock house with three rooms consisting of a tiny kitchen, a sitting area and a space for one bed shared by your whole family. You don’t have a husband, you have small children and you are alone every single night with no one to watch over you. Thieves come to steal and can do unthinkable things to you, or worse your children.
But, what if the door to the house was your door because the house was your house? Now that would be a whole different matter.
Yes, this is the next layer to wanting mothers and children to stay together.
They need a place they can call home, a place they are safe, a place they can lay their heads at night in peace. A place they can lock the door.
Everyone, I would like for you to meet Vadette. She graduated from our first sewing school in 2008 and has worked for us as a seamstress for the past seven years. She has always had the goal of having her own house.
While in Haiti at the end of October this year, I learned that her teenage daughter had experienced some of those unspeakable things I mentioned. As I sat in the office at CrossFields, I shared my heart with the team, telling them I felt like I was to return to the work I had been doing in Haiti for this very reason. There was still work that needed to be done and our ladies still needed help, but this time in a different way.
After some time had passed we talked about what would it look like to help the ladies in Haiti, in the sewing program to be safe? These conversations, some brainstorming and prayer led us to this…….
We are thrilled to partner with CrossFields to help Vedette complete her very own home. After all of her hard work over the years and many, many prays for a way to build her house she is going to be able to do just that, finish building her own house. Yes, and lock her door too!
Construction will begin in January.
I can't wait to tell Vedette her dream is really coming true!
I will travel to Haiti to help her coordinate the construction process that needs to being.
We can't wait to show you picture of the progress we make over the next few months.
Please continue to follow along with us here on the blog for updates.
You can also join us on Facebook
If you would like to support the work Vadette and the other Artisans are doing in Haiti you can shop and/or follow them at Haiti Design Coop
If you to know of a company or family who would like to partner with the Artisans in Haiti to help build their own house just like Vedette, please contact us and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.
Please note, mark all funds "Haiti Christmas Home" so we will know how we should apply your support for the work we are currently doing in Haiti.
Much Love to you and your families in this Christmas season!
The Lynch Family
The Lynch Family
Sunday, December 6, 2015
1. a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen
1. want something to happen or be the case
How Do We Give It?
Is It Measurable?
Can We Decide What It Looks Like For Another?
What Will Hope Look Like?
On my last trip to Haiti I got to sit and talk with each one of these ladies.
I admit I think they are beautiful and I admire them.
These five represent each class at the Women's Education Center.
They act as Ambassador's, they are the voice for each class.
There are 130 women in school this year who will graduate in June.
At the end of my day, as I drove back to the house, we sat in traffic. Just like rush hour in any other city, but this city happened to be on edge because of the election run off results.
For days everyone was on edge with reports of what "could be" for the next few days.
Based on their history, none of it would be good.
Still, the ladies would come to school each day as they waited for news. I asked if they wanted to leave, to get home "before" trouble started.
No, they would stay and talk with me.
They shared their stories about life, family and why they came to school. Some for three years to learn literacy, sewing, cooking, cake decoration and crafts.
Now, as I sat waiting in the sea of traffic, unsure myself of what was happening on the streets, I thought about their words.
I was wrestling.
Life was hard.
I thought about Jacob.
The Jacob who wrestled with hope.
It doesn't say He wrestled with hope exactly, but if you know his story it was messy.
He was looking for a new beginning.
Did I understand the weight of hopelessness and what it would look like for these ladies to not have the chance for an education?
Isn't hope woven in every new beginning?
By definition: "A feeling of expectation, a desire for a certain thing to happen."
As we finished, I was cleaning up my notes and adding a few details when one of the ladies said to me,
"this is where I found the way to my dream"
Whether a noun or verb, we can't dismiss hope is measurable in each and every life we come across on this journey.
I thought about the ladies sitting in traffic. I thought about the fact that we all draw on hope and the chance for new beginnings no matter where are live.
...you have struggled and have overcome.