"Situations like these are stimuli for us Christians to reach out and break the cycle of hopelessness and replace it with the light of God."
On March 16, 2020, in response to the spread of the coronavirus, Haiti closed its borders to the Dominican Republic and suspended most flights. Just three days later, on March 19, it declared a state of emergency
declaring that all ports, airports and borders would be closed to travel and imposed a curfew for all citizens.The coronavirus was slow to come to Haiti, partly due to a significant decline in tourism recently.
But with the influx of laid off migrant workers returning from the Dominican Republic, where cases were surging, it didn't take long for cases of the virus in Haiti to reach the thousands. The nation's health care system is so weak, Haitians regularly die of easily treatable ailments like diarrhea. A large-scale outbreak of the coronavirus would be devastating to this already suffering country.
As if the decade had not been challenging enough, with a horrific earthquake, cholera outbreak, and a deadly hurricane, once again Haiti is facing another humanitarian crisis.
Haiti is susceptible to natural disasters and epidemics. But Haiti is resilient, creative, and relentless when faced with overwhelming challenges. And so is GVCM.
Our Executive Director, Yves Prophete, had been at his home in Florida for months since travel to Haiti was prohibited. He recently returned to Haiti to a crowd of smiling children and his faithful staff who had not missed a beat while he was absent. "Everything here is as good as it could be. Many projects need attention and infrastructure around the compound needs fixing. I am glad to be back to be a pastor to the people. They have been needing pastoral connectivity. I have been preaching and we are having vibrant church services," Yves reported a week after his arrival.
With the number of reported cases seemingly low for a population of around 11 million, many experts believe the actual cases are much higher. In Haiti there is a
stigmatization of people with Covid-19, keeping many from seeking medical care. The number of tests is scarce compared to the rest of the world. But Pastor Yves believes low Covid-19 case numbers are a blessing from God. "The people in Haiti can handle sickness.They are used to it. They are strong and resilient. T
he psychology of what is happening has been more detrimental to the people than physical sickness. God has been merciful to us.This could have been a very destructive situation with the Dominican Republic having over 65,000 cases. God has protected us.
Covid-19 has not had much effect on Mirebalais and the Central Plateau. We have been under the Lord's protective umbrella. God's grace has been upon Haiti.
God will not give us a burden we can't carry."
The GVCM staff in Haiti has been working tirelessly to continue our ministry work despite church and school closures. Our farm manager, Wilfrid
was personally impacted by the painful reality of Covid-19 when he lost his mother to the virus. Despite the heartache of his loss, Wilfrid continues to focus on the farm, his crew, and the community he serves. "We are doing so much for the community. I have started my church at Big Tree and I am taking good care of it. I work on the farm every day and I help with school for the kids at the orphanage."
Our Haiti Missions Teams Coordinator, Markes Josslin, explained at first there was a great fear that the virus would spread quickly and kill many people considering
the living conditio
most Haitians. "The fact that the financial sustenance of most Haitian families is on a day-by-day basis, confinement or quarantine are not for us. That's why I believe the official numbers have always been far lower than what the reality of infections are and that most of the infected had very few symptoms. And finally, were not seriously sick. Yet, it's been a difficult time added to a situation that had already seemed untenable, it should remind us even more that God's people are not hopeless, that God always takes care of his people. Situations like these are stimuli for us Christians to reach out and break the cycle of hopelessness and replace it with the light of God,
so our perspective is to continue to be, through all of this, those hands that God is using in his field
Our Orphanage Administrator, Jude St. Eloi, has remained focused on keeping life "n
ormal" in the orphanage and not letting the children become idle or fearful. "Personally, I was choosing to put myself on the rank of helping people.
We needed to think about how to help the kids experience this time and how to deal with school for them. We were trying to join everybody's hands that can help to do many activities with them. The staff continued education when school closed and we have shared with them what a pandemic is. We have helped them understand how they should react and how to prevent getting sick.
GVCM staff also helped the commun
ity that wanted to connect to God. We helped organize small groups for worship and to hear the gospel message. We would visit them to build relationships and help them understand the situation with the pandemic.
As everybody knows life becomes more difficult and people don't even know how they are going to eat because they don't work and the price of everything increases. Some people want to give their life to God because they said God is the only hope for them now.