Authored by Heath (Bud) Gillam – Chairman, Mission Possible Canada
God answers prayer and dreams come true.
Dreams do come true; however, sometimes we have to be patient and wait for God’s timing. This story started back in 1994 when my wife Donna and I first got involved with Mission Possible. God’s call on an American couple started this ministry to Haiti back in 1979 and later the Dominican Republic. The initial call was to provide food for starving people. Soon they realized a Christian education would be far more beneficial to these very poor children. As part of the Canadian group who helped restart the ministry in 1994, Donna and I now operate the Canadian office, as volunteers, from our home in the London area.
Child sponsorship has always been our initial support system to provide a good academic education. Mission Possible owns and operates Christian schools, seven in Haiti and one in the Dominican Republic, with over 2,200 students in classes from Pre-K to grade 13, this school year. Our Mission Statement is “Equipping the Next Generation of Christ-Centered Leaders”. Mission Possible also has churches in our school communities, a Bible training centre, a Teachers School and offers medical care for our students, discipleship training and much more.
In 1996, Donna and I took our first trip to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. This was basically a vision trip; we wanted to see firsthand the ministry that we were representing. Our hearts were touched and burdened for these dear people, especially the children living in such abject poverty with little hope for the future.
On our first trip to Haiti, we visited our Mission Possible school located in the mountain community called Degeance. The school sits at the top of a hill on a very small parcel of land that we did not own. This school facilitates as many as 300 students. Some of the classroom walls are constructed with woven banana leaves which doesn’t keep out the rain. There is no water or electricity and it is very difficult to get there. You can drive part way; however, the last part of the journey is on foot climbing upward along a steep pathway next to a ravine. Food and supplies are carried in by donkeys. During our first visit to the Degeance School, the Field Director identified a parcel of land that would be ideal for a new school for this community. It was on a flat area that was accessible by vehicle with water nearby. At that time he said that it was not available for purchase due to a dispute over the ownership of the land. Haitian laws are very unique regarding the ownership of land and property. It is very difficult to find out who the legal owner(s) are. Sometimes many people lay claim to the same piece of property and it is challenging to acquire a clear title.
Now after 20 long years, this very piece of property has become available and in 2016 we were able to secure clear title. What a great blessing this is going to be for the community of Degeance. The whole community, including students, the administrator, teachers, other school workers, and community leaders, were invited to the dedication ceremony of the new property. Exius Pierreson a grade 6 student laid the symbolic corner stone for the wall. In Haitian customs, this ceremony is very important to show new ownership and change of land usage. The property, just less than two acres, now has been completely walled with two access gates. Currently, the design and engineering of the buildings on this precious property are being thoughtfully considered to fully meet the physical, educational, and spiritual needs of this community.
This facility could be a model for future schools that Mission Possible will build and will include both primary and secondary classrooms, administration offices, kitchen, toilets, other support buildings, with a soccer field and playground. The soccer field will be a fantastic community asset as soccer is enjoyed by everyone. Not only will this facility benefit school children but the adults in the community will want to play, making it a great tool of evangelism. Construction jobs will provide employment and help boost the economy in the Degeance community.
Recently the children from our Degeance School gathered trees from home and planted them on the new Degeance School property. This was a phenomenal display of gratitude and appreciation by the children for Mission Possible’s commitment to improve their chances to obtain a better education. As you may know, Haiti over the years has cut down most of its trees either to make charcoal for sale or for cooking. The removal of trees has resulted in soil erosion, mostly in the mountains, and cause dangerous mudslides. Obviously children are learning the value of trees to protect the land and enjoy the fruit.
This project has tremendo us community support. Families in Haiti sincerely want the best for their children. Parents with little education work hard to give their kids a better chance in life. We know that Haiti’s children are the hope for that
nation’s future. We believe our students can become Christ-Centered community leaders and that someday one of them could even become the President of Haiti.
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