For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
We are not in control of the seasons that come, but we have the opportunity to accept and process each season as they come. This year started off with several challenges that we were not prepared for. Personally, our family dealt with some health issues which we needed to be state-side (specifically me, Steph) for a while.
We were able to travel to Haiti in January and catch up with our friends and partners. Ryan stayed and I came back to help with the medical issues facing my family. So much of what we do at this stage in Konbit’s development has to do with making sure that programs are funded, working/running well, and more. Ryan was able to check in on these things in January/February time.
In March, we did our annual awareness/fundraiser focused on the water crisis. As nearly half the deaths in Haiti are due to sanitation and hygiene practices, in addition to clean water availability, this issue needs as much awareness as possible. A HUGE thank you to the people who raised awareness and donated!
I (Steph) was also able to share about Konbit Haiti at the University of West Florida’s annual gathering for Haitian Student Unions for the Florida area. It was such a fun experience!
Ryan also traveled back to Haiti for some of March and April, arriving back to the USA just in time for our annual Haitian Occasion at 5 Rivers. We had an amazing time highlighting products of partners such as Petite Palm, founded by one of our close friends Dani. We also sold many of our products that keep parents with their children and able to provide for their kids. A *HUGE* thank you to our volunteers and helpers. Without you, none of this would be possible!
As we gathered together during the Haitian Occasion, it was clear to us that we need to have more volunteers, full-time staff, and more in the US and Canada. This opportunity has been realized (at least in part) with the addition of our Marketing Administrator, Natalie. She has already helped us SO much! In addition to that, we had a great time connecting with some of our old staff members, especially two Canadian long-time partners, about becoming a 501c3 and more in Canada. It has been a successful time of growth and hope.
In April, we also experienced extreme loss. One of our good friends, partners, and friends in Haiti, Dani (creator of Petite Palm) passed away suddenly. It was completely unexpected. We are mourning the loss of our friend who knew and loved us, who knew the complex challenges of living in two different places, and who shared the heart to work alongside local Haitians to instigate change. It has been a hard loss for us, and we are traveling to her funeral service next week in the USA. Dani leaves behind two adorable little boys and an incredibly resilient and loving husband, who is also one of our good friends. If you desire to give to this family as they settle back in the USA for a time, please give here.
The same day we heard about Dani, we lost a long-time partner and friend, Pastor Georges. For those of you who have visited us, you are likely familiar with him. He was actually the first person we met in Haiti, as he met us in Haiti. We saw him on and off for our first several years until we both settled in Haiti minutes away from one another. We helped deliver his daughter, we have been friends with his adult children, we have started businesses with him, researched with him, and more. He will be sorely missed. If you want to give toward Pastor George’s funeral expenses, please give here.
This season of mourning has been met with more sadness. In January, we lost a sweet baby due to unclean water in Haiti. We are used to saying goodbye to people due to extreme injustices, but for some reason, it is hitting us harder than ever before.
As we prepare for the upcoming months, we commend to you a prayer list. While there are so many injustices happening around the world, let us not forget about Haiti. Currently, it is at a Travel Level 4, with basic necessities not even being accessible regularly. While this is tough for people who regularly live/travel there like us, it is detrimental to people who call Haiti their native land. We have had to cancel a pastor’s team, though we are still hoping to put the conference on in the next few months.
Though there are activities that are shifting and changing, there is still so much hope here.
We also have canceled all of our summer teams. We are, instead, offering something called an Angel Trip. This trip encourages book clubs, Bible studies, and individuals to sponsor a portion of camp. In exchange, you will receive a FaceTime call from camp, a photo thank you, and more. Click here to learn more!
In the middle of this trying season, we know there is hope. We ask that you consider partnering with us in Haiti. Join us in person to learn more at our Cocktails for a Cause event (link here), meet up with us for coffee, pray for us and our staff, and more. We need you and appreciate you!