Dear Loved Ones,
Peace and God blessings to all of you. Haiti, as many of you have seen on your TV screens or read in the newspapers, has gone through one of the terrible moments in its history: Many people have lost their lives, tires have been burned on the one and only main road, stores pillaged, roads blocked and stealing.
For three months, we have lived with fear and anxiety of not knowing what to expect as the days go bye. Gonaives, the eye of the storm is 100 Km from our place. Cap-Haitian, the second largest city of the country is only 15 miles from our house and we are less then a mile from the main road. This means that we are in no way spared from what was going in the country. We could easily be targeted at any time. This explains our fear and anxiety. We heard gunshots and news of people being killed. It was easy to fly for safety and go away but we decided to stay here in spite of generalized political unrest in the country.
Why did we decide to stay?
1. During this crisis we received a lot of support from our staff in Valley Forge office, our churches, and our seminary: the Central Baptist Theological Seminary, friends and family members. The amount of email messages was beyond our imagination.This love in action gave us more courage and strength to face the unknown tomorrow.
2. In 1997, our country of origin, the Democratic Republic of Congo, went through a similar experience while we were getting ready for our trip to Haiti. This war or revolution seemed like we were playing an old tune we already knew.The example of our ABC missionaries who stayed with us in Congo during that time of war and who were a source of force to all of us nationals, gave us the courage to stay and to struggle with our Haitian sisters and brothers.
3.Churches here were not discouraged at all in spite of the miserable conditions. They were and still are praying hard. In fact in our village, at 3:30 AM, the leaders are up to help wake up those who are willing to go to the Morning Prayer service. During this time, Kihomi with her women were meeting, making plans and doing whatever they are able to. To abandon them at this point would be a betrayal of our own testimony.
4. Kihomi cared for some girl students of our university who have come from far away and could not easily go back to their homes. She was their mom away from home. She fed them, counseled them and assisted them with pocket money for women's needs.
5. We have been in this village for 4 years. We have always felt secure here. We felt that if we were to die, it was much better to die where people know us then to die on the road fleeing from war.
The difficult thing was how to deal with our children. We tried to explain every detail as we know it but it was difficult for kids to understand sometimes. How to encourage them to study and do their homework while we all cannot go outside because there is a gun shot outside.As missionary kids, they have a world of their own, which we don't understand sometimes. We have come to appreciate them as they also struggle on how to cope with the stress of the political unrest. They are really our small heroes because they are the ones who give us the power to sustain the danger of war.
How did we cope with the whole situation?
First we did not have to worry about food. We know that in spite of the situation God takes care of us on daily basis. Many of our Haitian sisters and brothers did not worry about food even though they did not have anything saved for the hard days ahead. Why should we?
We spent more time in prayer as individuals as well as a family. Every time we prayed, we felt a sense of inner peace. It came time when words could not flow easily but God knew what we were about.
From time to time we would spend time with our Haitian brothers talking about what each one has heard or knows about what is going on. Sometimes these talks brought more confusion and fear then they were of help. In a place where there is no other recreation, we are forced to take whatever is available.
When we felt more stressed out we would spend time caring for our fish in their small pond and our doves and pigeons. It was amazing to see how those pets helped us cope with the situation.
We owe everything to God Almighty who has called us and brought us this far. We will trust in Him that He will not forsake us no matter the situation. We want once again to say thank you and express our deep and heart felt gratitude to our BIM people, to all our supporting churches and to our friends and families for their love during this time of unrest. We deeply appreciate your love in action. Without it, it would be difficult for us to stand and face the stress of the change in Haiti.
Haiti has people who are in need for not only material items but also have spiritual needs. The country has a future and it is this hope that helps us to be here and to minister to its people. May God of love bless all of you and give you peace.
kihomi Ngwemi Nzunga
Gracia & Benita