Hello from the Rudolph Family!
We hope this finds each one of you and your family doing well.
We are here at home in Grand Fond after several very full weeks. The arrival and aftermath of Hurricane Matthew has brought everyone a lot of extra work as well as great opportunities.
As mentioned in our previous email, many families in our community lost either part or all of their roofs (or their entire home) during the hurricane. It also destroyed their cash crops, most fruits, vegetables, and some livestock thus leaving them with little available resources for house repair and food for the Winter.
We have received several generous donations directed to helping with hurricane relief. We, along with Nathan and Virginia at first felt a little overwhelmed as to how to apply these funds in a way that does not contribute to the dependency mentality that many Haitians possess. After talking and praying about this, and reaching out to others for counsel, we believe the Lord provided us with the answers we needed.
The “Tin Program” is put together in a way to help the affected families get their homes repaired without encouraging the dependency disposition. We began with the damaged houses nearest our home base and are moving out farther as more funds become available. We are giving people two pieces of tin, nails, and a Haitian roofer to oversee putting it on (a total value of about three days wages) in exchange for a day of community service. The average home uses approximately forty pieces of tin, so if the roof was completely lost, the head of the home will be giving twenty days of community service. Each person receiving the tin signs a contract that states they will do this work in exchange for what they are receiving. The community service project they are working on right now is centered around repairing the roads. The hurricane created many washouts, landslides, and ruts making it more difficult for everyone to come and go. There are very few jobs available right now, so they all seem extremely grateful for this arrangement and every day about ten more people come asking to participate in the program. Michael tells them to pray to God as the supplier of their needs and that we will expand our program as we receive funds to do so.
We have been repairing eight to ten homes a week with our current crew at an average cost of $160.00 USD per house.
Thursday afternoon, an older, crippled man that we have known for years came to our gate and asked Michael to please come look at his home. Michael told him that the tin program was out of money currently, but agreed to go visit him and see his house anyway. They walked the footpath to his home, and upon arriving, Michael found a third of his roof missing and the rest that remained was full of holes. Michael told the old man and his wife to pray that God would provide money to help them fix their roof. Michael stayed and visited awhile, and as he turned to leave he received a text from Breanna informing him that we just got our statement from CMML (Christian Missions in Many Lands) saying that we received $2000 for “Haiti relief”. Michael told the old man and his wife that God just provided for them and their roof could be fixed soon. If they weren’t so old they would have danced a jig! Instead, they erupted with, “Beni swa l’eternel!” (praise the Lord!) multiple times. They were so happy…Michael was showered with hugs and kisses (maybe not the best part of the job:), but their joy was in God who had seen and cared for their need.
Since arriving back in Haiti, we have had to spend a lot of time on paperwork. We had to file for an extension on our USA 2015 taxes due to waiting on the slow Haitian government and accountant to get out Haiti taxes figured out. After pressuring the accountant to get them done by the quickly approaching October deadline, he unexpectedly told us one afternoon that we had to be Port au Prince the next morning to spend what turned out to be three days of running from office to office signing papers and paying money before we could finally figure out what we could count toward our American taxes. Also, October is the beginning of the fiscal year in Haiti so all our legal papers had to be renewed. We started the paperwork to renew our Haitian residency, Aid For Haiti annual taxes had to be paid, and all our licenses and permits have to be reacquired. Meanwhile we are still working on finishing the title transfer for our new truck, and renewing a permit to have it’s windows tinted. Paper work of any kind in Haiti is a huge headache to say the least!! Catching up on three months of LIFE Literature office work from while we were in the States took another week’s worth of time in Port au Prince but thankfully that is almost done now.
Often we wonder why it feels like it takes forever to accomplish normal tasks here. There are times we find it discouraging how much time it takes to get from start to finish on a project. We have been trying for the past two weeks to get this update written and sent but everything else is more demanding and every daytime moment is needed for the tasks at hand. Sometimes we have to just stop and figure it up to reassure ourselves that we are not stuck in some kind of world with shorter days. We have to realize that the little things we were used to in the States that would save a few minutes, or an hour here and there, add up daily. For instance, hot water has to be heated on the stove; you have to wait for tasks like laundry or vacuuming until when the generator is running on these cloudy days; hanging up and taking down all of the laundry on the clothesline, right now multiple times a day due to sporadic rain; keeping mold and the hundreds of tiny of bugs that get into our apartment cleaned up; walking everywhere due to lack of roads; and the list could go on. Also when we have a crazy day and the baby is cranky, we can’t just go out for supper. If we have a breakdown or run out of supplies everything is five hours away and there’s no Walmart or Lowe’s once you get there. We are slowly learning how to adjust and compensate, we pray for patience and and try not to schedule our time based on how long we are used to something taking, but to learn the new normals.
Please continue to pray for us that we would have energy and wisdom. We are daily making decisions that effect many people and we need God’s direction on how to best use our time and the resources He is making available to us.
May the Lord bless you all! Thank you so much for your continued support. Please know that we are so very thankful for all of your prayers and care for us.
In His Service,
Michael, Breanna and Junior Rudolph