So much to report! Where to begin?
- Many of you have asked about the incident in my home in Haiti. Thank you for your concern and your prayers! I have recovered nicely. I do feel safe in my home and sleep like a baby here. We have strengthened our security and are taking the issue more seriously. The thief has been arrested and remains incarcerated. But the beauty of it all is how the event has drawn me and the community closer together. I have been asked to start a bible study soon.
- I spent the month of September in the states. Sharon and I vacationed in California and we celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary on the 16th while I was there.
- Good For Haiti has completed the application for tax exempt status and has filed the application. We are waiting for the arrival of the official documents to be sent to us which should be imminent.
- Pastor Phenix/The Primary School at Cap Destree/The Industrial Arts School of Woodworking.
Yesterday Pastor Phenix (Met Bail to his students) opened the doors of the primary school for the 2017-18 school year. October 2nd was the last possible day to open the primary school without serious repercussions and he did it without having all the money to do so. It was a risk no matter which way he would have decided. If he had not opened the doors:
- He would have lost some the standing he has in the community as a spiritual leader.
- One of the platforms for making disciples in the community would be lost.
- The school would have lost the credentials from the government and would not be allowed to open in subsequent years.
- Education for those who cannot afford it would be lost.
- School children would become idle and would get involved in unsavory behavior.
As a missionary and an American I struggle with the issue of funding for Haitian schools. Most of the schools in Haiti (90%) are owned by churches or individuals like this school. Neither the national government nor the local governments have the resources to fully fund education. That causes the schools and their directors to become dependent on charitable resources from outside of the country. And that contributes to the hopelessness, helplessness, and powerlessness that constitute poverty. It is a necessary band-aid to a problem that begs for a long term solution.
So I ask myself and I ask you: How would WE do it? If this was our problem what would we do to help schools become self-sustaining? How do we employ the awesome education we each have enjoyed in the United States to solve this difficult problem?
This is the place to which I have progressed in solving this issue. I have absorbed some of the passion Pastor Phenix Bail has for education and community development. This passion is rooted in the absolute conviction that no country or community can advance without a relationship with the living God and his son Jesus the Christ. All of our effort is centered and powered by this foundation. Education not only provides a platform to introduce the creator to the community in a spiritual outreach but it also provides for a practical, physical manifestation as well.
When I asked God what I could contribute to the well-being of Haitians he simply told me to give them what he had given me; my faith and my skills! My faith journey has led me to a partnership with Phenix. My skills have led me to the idea of the industrial arts woodworking and business school. And the woodworking school can provide the fuel to fund not only the industrial arts but the primary education as well.
The woodworking school needs to have a production shop, one that produces viable products, in order to provide a practical experience for students enrolled in the theoretical classes. Those products can be sold not only to demonstrate to the students that woodworking commerce is possible in Haiti, and not only to fund the costs of the technical school but it can help to fund the primary school as well. While this idea certainly may not be the only solution to funding nor is it an available option to all primary schools, I am convinced that it is a valid and effective one for us.
So just like the opening of the School of Cap Destree, Good For Haiti and Pastor Bail and myself are poised to launch the project to build the technical school of woodworking and business in Petit Goave, Haiti. Plans have been sketched, the bids are in, and the budgets have been established. September 1, 2018 is the goal for completion date and commencement of operation for the technical school so that the 2018-19 primary school year can be funded.
If you have been waiting for an opportunity to partner with ministry in Haiti now is the time to act. There are two ways to participate; you can support the budget for the primary school this year or with the construction costs and equipping of the technical school. More details are available upon request.
Thank you ever so much for your faithfulness to this Kingdom work in Haiti. Please continue to lift it up in prayer.
For those who would like to help with our continued ministry in Haiti the link for online giving is:
For checks, make them payable to BGCT and send it to the following address with a note that it is for Ernie & Sharon Rice’s ministry in Haiti:
7557 Rambler Road, Suite 1100
Dallas, TX 75231-2310