Did you ever see an individual or maybe a family and thought, “I wish there was some way to get to know them, a way to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them”? Paul prayed for open doors for this very reason. Have you ever had the thought, “I’d be so embarrassed if my friends came over just now”? Maybe the house is in disarray, we’re having a bad hair day, or fill-in-the-blank. One day, having returned to Haiti after a prolonged absence, these two thoughts ran into each other! I was confronted with a family’s sense of indignity (not to mention total discomfort!) at not having bathroom facilities. I saw how my visits to families in this situation stirred their feelings of shame. Then I saw it ... the very thing that was hindering could become the open door!!
Directed and coordinated by Bito (one of our dear brothers in Haiti), we’ve begun digging pit latrines, double-seaters which are strategically placed to serve several families together. Such a simple thing, such a BIG DOOR to share the love of Christ! I have to laugh when realizing I’m suggesting people join me in throwing their money down the toilet! We have completed nine projects so far, and our next one is for a school in Tovà. Their lack of facilities has been blocking receipt of much-needed aid available through World Vision. We’re excited and grateful for the privilege of restoring a sense of dignity to these precious people, and excited too that so many of you participate through prayer and financial support.
Looking ahead, we’re studying dry-composting toilets ... much smaller, less expensive individual units which make possible the conversion of waste to soil-enriching compost. More open doors for us to walk through, bringing hope and light and good news to those in darkness. To God be the glory; great things He has done, and continues to do!
Candy Rieger, Field Coordinator, Missionary Ventures Int’l.
Candy Rieger is a Missionary in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. She left the U.S. in 1996 for the Dominican Republic after being called to Missions and has been there ever since.
Around six weeks ago I hopped on a plane to begin volunteering with Light Gives Heat in Jinja, Uganda. I had followed the organization closely for years, constantly reminding my parents that I could just take a year off of school and spend a few months abroad. God began working all around me, people’s generosity pouring out to make this experience possible, something I will never express enough gratitude for. Light Gives Heat employs 93 women to make beads for a cooperative business called SUUBI and seven tailors to make bags and other goodies for a cooperative business called EPOH. Both are Ugandan managed and western influenced (and they make great Christmas presents if you’re in a rut about that! Sorry - shameless, LGH promotion). Our artisans live in two villages on the outskirts of Jinja called Walukuba and Danida, some of the poorer areas in the city. I spend my days here at a primary school across the street from our house, hanging out at an orphanage in Walukuba, sipping tea with the tailors, attending buying meetings for SUUBI, and really getting to know the men and women we employ. My role here is small, just make quality friendships within the city, love people I interact with, immerse myself in Ugandan life.
There’s something about moving to a third world country that we often romanticize. It’s as though we are so used to seeing pictures of mud huts and starving children that we expect it to be magical when we walk in and feed those children and rebuild the cracking huts. Though I do feel my life at the source of the Nile River is romantic, especially when my housemates decide to pay a fisherman to take us out on a sunset boat ride on Lake Victoria, mud huts and starving children are simply homes and children. It’s easy to begin to compare life here to life in America - most of the people I interact with daily would be considered extremely needy in the states - but that’s not a fair comparison. Human beings are dignified beyond their living conditions. They aren’t “the poor” any more than they are “the children of God”, their lives are absolutely important and certainly being lived with purpose and I am blessed beyond words to be a temporary member of such a community.