Bringing hope in the midst of hopelessness.

By October 2, 2006

Haiti (MNN) — Political turmoil and grinding poverty pervade life in Haiti. Hope is often hard to come by.

Yet, even in the midst of that, the light of Christ is shining. Earlier this year, Hopegivers International received a desperate plea for help from a pastor in Haiti. Pastor Willio Joseph leads a church of 160 members, runs a school of 400 primarily homeless children, and cares for about 17 children in an orphanage. But he needed help to continue his ministry effectively in that struggling Caribbean nation.

So Hopegivers responded. They sent a team in August to find out what the greatest needs were, and discovered that the most glaring thing hampering progress was the lack of clean, fresh water. A fresh-water well is a life-changing, life-saving asset to a community, and Hopegivers answered that desperate need. Just last week completed a well for the orphanage, opening the doors to long-term physical and spiritual impact.

Robby Brumberg with Hopegivers says it goes beyond just meeting a need in the orphanage, and it will actually help in several ways. “It’s not just going to help with the obvious health improvements. Obviously it’s going to make washing and bathing and all their sanitation needs much easier, much better.”

The well also impacts the surrounding of Ouanaminthe (pronounced ‘wanna-mint’). Brumberg continues, “We’re also excited about it as an outreach tool to the greater community there, because not everybody has access to clean, safe water there. So now they’re going to be able to provide clean water to their family members, their friends, and to people throughout the village. So it should be an exciting time and a very excellent time to do outreach within the town there.”

Certainly, the well will bring health benefits, but Pastor Willio is also looking forward to the potential outreach opportunities it will create. “Now, we can reach out to Ouanaminthe,” says Pastor Willio. “We can give them good water and also tell them about Jesus.”

Pastor Willio also possesses an undying hope, and his passion for sharing the Gospel with others is what forged a relationship with Hopegivers. Brumberg says the hopeless of Haiti and the contrasting hope of Pastor Willio are what struck him most. “It’s just so sad to see so many people without hope, but Pastor Willio just kept talking about how much hope he has for Haiti, what great aspirations he has for his island. I’ve never heard anyone have such a positive take on it. He just really firmly believes that Christ can and will change that place, for the better.”

The ongoing, faithful presence of Pastor Willio, combined with this new well, becomes a powerful tool in the hands of a powerful minister of the Gospel. “He already has a wonderful ministry in town,” says Brumbrg, “So he’s well-known throughout the town, and this is just going to be one more excellent way for him to spread the Gospel throughout the town. That’s his passion. He wants people to know that there’s a God that loves them, and that’s why he does what he does down there. That’s why he takes care of these children ultimately.”

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. There’s ongoing political turmoil, food shortages, droughts and floods, kidnappings and the pervasive poverty. Yet, hope and healing begin with a man like Pastor Willio. Change for a whole country starts with something small, doing what you can to fill others with the love of Christ. That’s what brings hope to a whole country, and that is what Pastor Willio and Hopegivers are seeking to do.

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