How Can You Influence People?

Today, we ended up with a rain day. We were supposed to start building homes in the mountains, but with the weather, it wasn’t a good idea. So, we ended up visiting Faith Academy started by FanFan, visited a Fish Farm run by Dr. Val, and then spent some time shopping at the tin market. It was a pretty cool day.

Let me start with Fanfan. I cannot even begin to tell you his story or how God has used him to do amazing things. Fanfan grew up in an orphanage here in Haiti, where he learned about Jesus early on. At one point, he felt a call from God to start a school. He negotiated the land price, made the transaction, and started building. Faith Academy used to be just grades K-6, but this year was able to add 7th grade. Next year 8th grade will be added and 9th grade the following year. The enrollment of Faith Academy is up to 400 students. Because public education in Haiti isn’t free, only 50% of kids here are in school. At Faith Academy, the cost isn’t like that of the other public schools. The quality of education is better. Faith Academy is supported by many in the US, so kids could attend for free, but Fanfan wants parents to have a stake in their child’s education. At Faith Academy, they’ve been able to support a lunch program that was just once a week, to feeding kids everyday. It’s amazing what FanFan is doing with Faith Academy. My last visit here in 2015, they had just finished building the cafeteria for Faith Academy and had the walls for the chapel up. To see that all completed with benches and everything is beyond words amazing. 

I wish all of you could meet FanFan and experience his love for Jesus and how closely he listens to God’s call. When he walked into a classroom, the kids and teachers all stood up for him, out of respect. God has used FanFan to bless so many. 

It was super cool to hang out with some kids at recess time. There were a few girls who wanted me to just carry them and out of nowhere, it seemed, I became a human jungle gym. But you know what? All some of these kids want is a little bit of love. Someone to love on them and brighten their day. Watching Greg with a girl named Lovely was special. Work he had done with a previous organization brought Lovely to him and Cathy. He said when she arrived at the orphanage, she was 2 years old and weighed just 8 pounds (yes, you read that right – 8 lb). That’s what an average newborn weighs. Now she’s in 5th grade at Faith Academy. The smile on both her and Greg’s faces when they saw each other – I can’t even begin to describe it. 

The impact that Greg, Cathy, FanFan, Chris, & Kendra are having on the Haitians they work with is beyond words. Truly amazing things happen when we listen to God’s call. We are seeing it each day we’re here. 

Greg introduced us to Dr. Val today. Dr. Val is originally from the Ivory Coast, Africa and attended Auburn University in the states for his masters, Ph.D., and his post-doc. What he learned there, he has been able to implement and improve the lives of Haitian families. Dr. Val owns a fish farm. We got a tour of it today. We saw the itty bitty baby fish (which look like minnows) & the little bit older fish (think your average goldfish size) they keep at the hatchery. Dr. Val told us that they give the families that actually raise the fish a farming kit. They raise the fish until they are big enough to be processed back at the hatchery. When the fish are processed, Dr. Val is able to sell fish to hotels, restaurants, and grocery stores. He’s also able to sell them to the street merchants who make a living selling the fish. Currently, Dr. Val has 254 fish farmers with the kits. Those fish farmers make $2000 (US) by raising these fish. Dr. Val is influencing many lives through his fish farm.

After visiting Dr. Val, we went to the tin market to do some shopping. This is always an interesting place. Artists are trying to make a living with their tin art. Some of the art is extremely beautiful. I’ve learned to barter at the tin market. This is the place I like to pick up little thank yous for those who have supported me for this trip. It’s also a chance for me to support a Haitian family. I may not spend a lot of money, but $10 US is huge for these guys sometimes. I learned today that it takes 66, $50 Haitian to make $1 US. We take so much for granted. We have so much that we are blessed with in the US. I don’t mind spending a few dollars on tin art to support a Haitian who use trying to make it on his own. Don’t get me wrong, I do think these guys probably make some money off tourists, but you never know what their needs are.

Where are you in your life? How are you influencing people? God has called me to a life of serving Him by serving others. Being in ministry means that I probably won’t be making a ton of money, but the treasure that I am seeking is heavenly rewards. I love serving others. I love seeing their smiles or watching them understand something fully for the first time. I tutor a 6th grade boy in Over-The-Rhine (in Cincinnati). He hasn’t had half the opportunities I did at his age. He struggles with school. I’ve come to love this kid and it pains me when I see him struggling and not able to fully understand the concept we’re working on. Outside of his schoolwork, I hope to have a positive influence on his life. I pray that God will work in his life and that he will go on to make a bigger impact on someone else. 

Micah 6:6-8 says, “With what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before God on high. Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give him my firstborn for my transgressions? The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul. He has shown you o man. He has shown you what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.” 

Maybe you don’t have much money you can offer, but what about your time or your talents? How will the Lord be pleased with your offerings?

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