While many are focused on the current situation in Haiti brought about by the assassination of President Jovenal Moise, we should take heart in the light that shines forth from the work being done by Haitians that glorifies God. In Christ’s message to us in St. Matthew (5:16), “Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Depending on the gifts God has given each of us, our light shines in many ways.
The Diocese of Norwich Outreach to Haiti Ministry reflects God’s love and brings hope to the 60,000 men, women, and children who live in the neighborhood we serve, Christ Roi (Christ the King). Through our dedicated and compassionate staff we help some of God’s poorest children receive medical aid, healthcare and food and provide educational opportunities to approximately 200 young people who could not afford school without our help.
While Haiti has faced more than its share of challenges, please know there are millions of Haitians who let their light shine forth. One of them is an Outreach scholarship recipient, a young man, McNil. He currently is in his fourth year of engineering school and lets his light shine by participating in Outreach’s Giving Back Program. This program was designed by our staff in Haiti to help younger students, some of our staff, and people in the neighborhood acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to live better lives. It also was designed to provide an opportunity for our post-secondary students and graduates to give back to their countrymen by sharing their time and talents. They said the experience has been both challenging and rewarding.
McNil chose to help with our literacy program and enthusiastically participates while also helping to lead sessions. He helps participants learn to read and write so that they will have better opportunities. As one of our staff noted, this program is vitally important since it brings hope to people who wondered if they had been left behind.
All of this is remarkable considering the many difficulties McNil faced in his life. When he was only two years old his dad abandoned him and his mother to start a new family elsewhere. His mother did not give up on life; instead, she created a small business selling cosmetics so she could put food on the table to feed her children.
At 11 years old, McNil joined our Education Sponsorship Program, which came at a very good time, since he was getting ready to enter high school and “staying above water” was getting harder for his mother. After enrolling in the program, he gave his very best, worked hard and became a top student.
McNil’s experience of seeing houses collapse before his very eyes during the 2010 earthquake and his love for mathematics inspired him to go to college and major in civil engineering. He passionately believes real change in Haiti will not happen without incorporating a sound construction system.
Even though McNil is very busy at school, he also lets his light shine through his monthly participation in Outreach to Haiti’s Alumni Association, and for the past two years served first as vice president and then secretary. Inspired by his mother, he started his own business last year making jam, cremas, and cocktails.
If we are willing, God lets His light shine through each of us. While many people who do not live in Haiti may think there is little to be thankful for there right now, we know better. Haitians throughout their country, especially our staff, shine their light and bring hope to others. We are thankful for them and all of our friends and supporters.
Thank you to all who take Christ’s message to heart, “Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
Please pray for everyone, but especially for the people of Haiti.