Visitor to Bombardopolis, Haiti
Paul Northen's notes on his trip
In January 2017, I had the opportunity to visit Haiti with RMI (Reciprocal Ministries International) in SW Haiti on a mission trip through my church. During this trip, I spoke with Steve and Faith Leach, they encouraged me to come back this year to visit the work at Bombardopolis that my father, Tom Northen, had founded in 1971. I had been there with Dad a few times while in high school and living in Jamaica. I prayed about it and well...God had plans (...His ways are not our ways and His plans not our plans..., Isaiah 55:8-9) ...In mid-March I lost my current job due to a restructuring, so I had the time. I needed funds and transportation. People at my church helped fund a trip in less than two weeks, and RMI graciously provided a vehicle and driver/translator. So, I called Steve to see if I could visit. On April 14th, I flew to Haiti and arrived at IMF mission hospital the next day! It was clear that God had ordained my visit and worked out all the plans without my "help", He's good that way!
The drive from Port-au-Prince to Bombard was a memorable one! Both from the drive and the vivid memories recalled as a 14 and 16-year-old, beautiful and challenging at the same time. The drive was 12 hours back then and about 8 now. I arrived at Steve and Faith's (and Betsy) with eager anticipation and joy as we shared a lovely lunch together. We talked for many hours about my early visits, Dad and Jean, the work, things I recalled and the joy God allowed us to share the amazing "narrative" He alone has woven in our mutual lives. We talked about the many ups and downs of the work at the mission in Bombard, the learnings and opportunities for change when one leaves a remote area and another team takes over. I got to tour through all the facilities at the mission and see firsthand the work in action as well as go on an ambulance run, and see many cisterns! As the son of Tom Northen, I am humbled and impressed with how the Leach's, Beardsley's, Betsy, and many others, as well as several teams, have taken the hospital and other adjunct missions (cisterns, widows home, feeding program, bible teaching, etc.) so far beyond what was started in the early 70's. God has certainly been faithful! I look forward to seeing how God will use Matt and his family in this next exciting phase. IMF leaders in Jamaica and Dad had a vision, put faith into action, founded IMF hospital in Haiti, which now meets the growing needs of literally thousands of people in NW Haiti region.
Steve took me to visit several people who I knew from my early visits, as well as Dad and Jean talking about them, many of these brought tears of joy at what God has done and allowing us to reconnect. They also gave me the chance to do some "work" and serve, which I was honored to do. I am humbled and honored to have the heritage with my family and so blessed to have had this opportunity. In closing, I want to ask for much needed prayers and financial support for the growing work in Haiti that is not possible without us in the States, and the many opportunities that the Lord has brought to the work here.
We have had several people hospitalized for typhoid and one was a little 7-year-old girl. Her mom helps care for children in an orphanage; she was bringing in a couple of the kids to see the doctor, including one of her twin girls. We were happy to see her recover and were tickled to realize that she is one of a set of twins that Betsy and Grace helped take care of in July 2010 when they were born at 3 lb. 8 oz. and 3 lb. 10 oz. Later she brought her other daughter in to see the doctor. It is always so rewarding to see preemies that you have cared for growing and doing so well.
The Cistern Project
We are getting supplies together to build 13 cisterns here locally. Some are for workers that have built homes and are ready for cisterns. That will bring the total up to 715 including 41 built for mission employees.
We have received 9 inches of rain in the last month. Everything looks green and the cisterns are full.
Food Bearing Trees & Plants
For the first time Steve has grown strawberries. The most we harvested at one time was 8 but we have enjoyed them. He's also propagating the plants and they are doing well. Not sure how quickly the heat will get them but we are enjoying them while we can.
We also received a gift, a small bucket of cherries from some of the cherry trees Steve had grown and given away. They made almost a gallon of cherry juice and pulp. They are great for smoothies.
We didn't have a mango crop in our area last year but this year is looking great so far. One tree that Steve started from seed about 5 years ago is 8 ft. tall and has lots of mangos set on. We have 10 older mango trees in the yard that are loaded. Another month and we should be harvesting mangos if all goes well.
Matt and Sarah have had a good trip to the States and will share more next month. Thank you for your prayers.
We all appreciate your prayers and support.
Steve, Faith, Betsy, Matt and Sarah
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