JOURNEYS

Pouring Into a Brighter Future

One Year after the tragic earthquake in Haiti, Stephen Byxbe reflects on the progress that has been made there

Stepeh Byxbe on top of one of HOM's church roofs. © Tom Burton  2010

Stephen takes a break to share his heart with an eager onlooker. © Tom Burton 2010

Continual work in Citie Soleil by Haiti Outreach Ministries. They have built more than 100 homes since the earthquake. © Tom Burton 2010

One year later.

We celebrated by continuing to build, showing that a new Haiti is on the way. With the efforts of 150 Haitian workers, the roof was put in place to the first floor of the new Cite Soleil Clinic, what will be a medical facility inside the Haiti Outreach Ministries compound in Cite Soleil.

The work on this day was both symbolic and impressive: a 4000sq-ft pour (term for mixing concrete just right) – all by hand. No concrete trucks or fancy equipment. We had buckets and 3 concrete mixers. This is the essence of the rebuilding effort here: not much in the way of heavy equipment but lots of sweat and lots of heart.

It is hard to believe that a year has already passed by since the tragic earth quake in Haiti. Many things have happened since then across the country and definitely with Haiti Outreach Ministries, a non-governmental organization based here that operates several churches, schools and clinics.

With the helping hands of 700 short-term individuals—staying for 1-2 weeks at a time from all over the world—we have re-built more than 100 homes for displaced Haitians—all for God’s Glory.

I came here in February with one other friend from Macon, Georgia; I gave up a graphic design business so I could fulfill God’s call for me in helping to rebuild Haiti. It has definitely taken some getting used to…the different ways of doing business, fighting the traffic, trying to understand the language…but the Lord has provided a way in every situation.

We’ve seen progress in inches but continual. Another foundation, another roof, another happy family that moves from a temporary shelter to an actual home.

As we’ve steadily built homes, we’ve also worked to rebuild the compounds of both Citie Soleil and Repatriote, which were greatly affected by the earthquake – the church at Repatriote is now a tent.

Despite the uphill battle, together with the enthusiastic teams and the Haitians that we contract, progress has come.

And things will continue to progress.

The pour today is proof of that. -- Stephen Byxbe is a long-term volunteer with Haiti Outreach Ministries, which operates a school, clinic, and four churches in several districts outside of Port-au-Prince. Stephen may be reached at stephen@haitioutreachministries.org.