Two years ago, Matt had the opportunity to go on an atv trip around remote Northwest Haiti with a friend. During his trip, they visited 5 missionary families who live and serve in the NW. One of the stops on the journey was to Hospital Evangelique Bombardpolis, run by Steve and Faith Leach (www.haitihospital.org).
|Front gate of Hospital Evangelique Bombardpolis|
The impression this place had on him never left, He often caught himself thinking of Bombard and wondered what was going on with the mission. In August, Matt heard that Steve and Faith were planning to leave Haiti due to personal health concerns after having been in Bombard for 21 years.
For months, we wrestled with the idea of contacting them. Finally, Matt emailed Steve and he confirmed that they were indeed leaving. The Leachs had begun tentative plans to turn the hospital over to the Dept of Health. This would have been disastrous. Not only would the hospital lose its evangelical puporse, it would suffer a drastic funding crisis, and a suffer from extremely poor dis-nterested management.
We decided we could not let this happen, and we began praying intentionally for the hospital. Matt phoned Steve and asked if we could meet face to face to discuss their plans in order to find out if we could play some role in them.
We were invited to make the 8 hour drive from our home in Montrouis to visit with Steve and Faith for a week and allow Sarah to see the hospital for the first time. Sarah and the kids were able to see more of Haiti on our trip to Bombard than they have seen in the 5 years we have lived in Haiti.
|Our family with Steve & Faith Leach|
We immediately fell in love with Bombard, her people, and fully realized how critically important it was that this hospital remain open. Over the course of four decades, God has expanded the hospital’s capabilities and reach. The hospital/clinic today delivers healthcare to a population of at least 50,000. The remote location of the hospital heightens its local impact as there is no facility offering equivalent services within several hours' hard travel, and, arguably, none within a day's journey that offers these services at such minimal cost.
What does this mean for us?
We are partnering with International Missionary Fellowship and moving to Bombardpolis with our family. We hope to be fully moved and settled by the end of January. This will give us the maximum amount of time to work along side Steve and Faith before their planned departure in November of 2017.
As a family, we are beginning to realize the impact this change in roles will have on us. Sarah will begin working more, helping to improve the nursing care offered to patients, as well as helping with midwifery in the Hospital. Matt will begin overseeing the physical plant of the mission and will have an administrative/ accounting focus.
|Willow and Olive had a ball playing in the shade house!|
What are our immediate prayer requests?
Our families physical needs will change as we will live in a significantly more remote area. The remote nature of our new location requires us to purchase significantly more supplies every 2 months when we travel to Port au Prince. We will need better evacuation insurance and more reliable transportation for our family.
|Toyota Landcruiser designed for the rugged rural roads.|
We are desperately praying for God to bring another family to come alongside us in this ministry. There is far more work to do than Sarah and I are able to do while still raising young children.
Lastly and most importantly, pray against spiritual warfare. The enemy will surely attack and attempt to rob us of joy, target our marriage, attempt to destroy relationships within the mission and community of Bombard.
What will happen with the Retreat Center?
We are willing to manage the RC until Nov 2017 (the date at which the Leaches will leave Haiti) in the same ways we do as when we are on furlough. Chadasha is working to identify new missionaries as soon as possible to begin the leadership transition.
We are overwhelmed at how God has orchestrated the past few weeks, and are excited to continue the work that IMF has been doing in Bombard.
If God wasn’t undeniably calling us to a new position serving the poor of rural NW Haiti, we would still be fighting for the RC to continue. We believe in the vision and purpose of the RC with all of our hearts. From the beginning, we prayed that God would make it abundantly clear when our involvement with the RC would change. While we didn’t anticipate that change coming this soon, we believe the time has arrived. Thanks for the privilege of serving with you, and for your sacrifice on our behalf to live and work in Haiti.