(MNN) — This year is the 40th anniversary of For Haiti with Love, and a new truck is desperately needed.
has already received $6,000 of the $35,000 needed for the purchase. It will buy the truck in Haiti in order
to avoid the customs process.
"We're really getting a good start," said For Haiti's
The truck will serve many aspects of For Haiti's work, such
as hauling food and construction materials. It's getting too difficult to repair the old truck, which could continue
transporting people for a little while longer if the new truck pulls the heavy
loads. The organization can also rent
trucks, but this is becoming more difficult to do.
"It's getting almost impossible to find a truck to rent down
there," DeHart explained. "Everybody's trucks
are falling apart." The problem is
especially bad in the rugged mountain area of For Haiti's ministry.
"It's just a very bad road, and it's very steep. And when
you're hauling 100-pound bags or 110-pound bags of food, it's a pretty heavy
load. So the truck needs to be pretty
substantial and have a good transmission to make the climb," DeHart said.
One of the truck's first assignments could be making the
climb with a shipment of food. For Haiti has been waiting since the beginning of
the year for Haiti's
customs system to let the food into the country. When the containers are released, they will
need to be transported up the mountain to For Haiti's headquarters in Cap Haitien.
The arrival of the food will provide more nutritional
variety for the people served by For Haiti's food program. With the cost of rice soaring, the people
have been living off a grain called bulgur.
"They've been eating bulgur for so long that the little old
ladies are getting diarrhea from it," DeHart explained. "So you can't just keep giving them bulgur;
it's too rich for their systems. As
soon as we get our own food up there, we'll have black beans; and then we'll have
nutritionally-balanced food packs and be able to give them more nutritional
food that will be more easily digested."
will also use the truck to help with construction projects. It often builds homes for homeless families,
or repairs homes damaged by storms. Sometimes it builds homes for people who come to the burn clinic after
their homes burn down.
"We build homes for homeless people when we have the
budget," DeHart said. "We have churches
who like to sponsor one house a year for a homeless family."
The truck will play a very practical role in these
projects. During a construction project,
DeHart said, "We're hauling lumber, we're hauling cement, we're hauling gravel–all of the construction materials that are necessary to make that happen."
All of the practical assistance that For Haiti gives to
needy people points to the Gospel. Just
recently, five patients at the burn clinic responded to the message of God's
love. One of them was a Voodoo
"Something had gone very wrong in his little Voodoo
ritual that he was doing with the people," DeHart said. "So he was actually a patient of the burn
clinic as well as the four people that he had burned."
After receiving free medical care, all five people,
including the priest, have decided to become Christians.
"He is now changing religions," DeHart said. "He's decided that God is a much better way
to go, and he is asking a lot of questions about Jesus, and how you get
Jesus into your life. So through the
ministry we have, four new converts plus a Voodoo priest."
Although most Haitians call themselves Christians, the practice
of Voodoo is widespread and "entrenched in the culture," DeHart said.
"The old saying in Haiti is that 20 percent of the
people are Protestants, 80 percent of the people are Catholics, 100 percent of
the people are Voodoo," she explained.
According to the CIA World Factbook, about half the
population practices Voodoo. Voodoo has
some medicinal value, but overall a very negative impact, DeHart said.
"People in Haiti
tend to believe in God the Creator and in Jesus," she explained. But, "they
believe also in the devil. Somehow or
other, they've gotten the message that they need to make both of them happy. And so our witness to them is that we really
have a very jealous God, and you cannot serve two masters; you have to make
Pray for the For Haiti staff as they endeavor to communicate
this message clearly, and consider helping them buy a new truck.