Thank you for your continued prayers and support of our brothers and sisters in Haiti. We’re so grateful for friends like you who are holding the children close in prayer during this time of hardship. The outpouring of concern during this crisis is truly humbling. We’re receiving messages of encouragement from across the country. More than $8,000 has been donated for food needs in Haiti so far.
Last week, we immediately sent money through secure means to the Branch Schools directors and we confirmed with them that the money was received and used to purchase food and cooking supplies. We are thankful for safe and modern means of transferring money across the world. We will continue to send your generous contributions to Haiti throughout the coming weeks and months as we do not foresee a decrease in food prices in the near term. Many news outlets are reporting Haiti is close to a humanitarian crisis.
Two of the schools opened today after being closed for over a week. One of the school directors reported : "Two of our schools operate timidly. The school of Carrefour does not work the tensions are high in its localities. Hello and good day."
However, the situation remains perilous. The government opposition has established a 72-hour deadline for the government to resign or riots, unrest, and violence will resume.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9
We thank God for all of you. Keep the people of Haiti in your prayers and we will continue to provide updates in the coming weeks.
Lee Petersen, Chairman of the Board of Directors
Dear Friends of Branch Lutheran Schools of Haiti,
The political unrest in Haiti, which has been ongoing for months, has intensified in recent days. The unrest is driven by "a worsening economic crisis that has led to a drop in living standards, inflation at around 15 per cent, a growing national deficit, and allegations of corruption leveled at President Jovenel Moise, before he took office." according to the UN News. (https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/02/1032441).
The US State Department has issued a security alert as well: "The security situation remains very unstable with demonstrations very likely. The potential for violent pop-up demonstrations is high and they are proving to be sporadic and unpredictable. Public transportation is shut down again today. Many roads have debris, so caution is needed to prevent damage your vehicles. Rock throwing from small groups is likely in numerous areas."
Branch Schools is not immune during these challenging times. Pastor Terry Schultz, WELS missionary to Haiti, summarizes reports from the school directors: "The continued turmoil in Haiti has led to many businesses and markets closing for days on end. Our schools may be closed for the entire week. Meanwhile, prices on basic food supplies have skyrocketed between 30% to 100%. Huge increases are also reported in drinking water, charcoal, and cooking oil. At least one of the 3 orphanages (Boursiquot’s) is down to one meal and one snack per day."
The orphanage directors report: "We rise under a black sky, without hope in a completely blocked country. On the 7th day of the political problems, the hunger only gnaws at our children, the prices of the basic products multiply by 2, sometimes to the highest bidder, the water of drinks increases to approximately 30 to 40%, the vehicles cannot transport anything..."
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
We humbly request your prayers for the violence to end, the economic crisis to lessen, and protection for the children, teachers, school directors.
Branch Schools is using the remainder of our funds donated and designated for emergencies ($400) to supplement our monthly food assistance. However, more funds are needed to offset the increases in food cost. If you wish to donate, please follow this link to our donation page on our website and if you choose to donate by using either WePay or PayPal, please designate your donation to our food fund. Any check donations can be sent to Branch Lutheran Schools of Haiti, c/o Kathleen Menke, 1627 Dunlap St. N, St. Paul, MN 55108. Please write food donation or your check. All amounts donated to our food fund will be used for food, fuel, and water. Thank you in advance for your prayers and donations.
Lee Petersen, Chairman of the Board of Directors
Update from Lee Petersen
A few weeks ago, I reported that new classrooms were under construction at the orphanage and Branch Lutheran School location under the leadership of Luxon Boursiquot. The facility is located in Carrefour, Haiti, about 6 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince. Boursiquot’s enrollment increased from 96 last school year to 130 this school year.
One of Boursiquot’s existing classrooms was without windows, without electric lights and natural light was limited to a few inches over the top of a wall. This classroom had no air flow and was not conducive to learning. Boursiquot’s new classroom is being built along the side of the existing building.
Above, at left is the new classroom in use. The construction was finished in time for the spring term. In comparison to the old classroom, the new classroom is open, airy, and well lighted. In the background, younger students are having a lesson.
We thank God for the growth of this ministry, and for the faithful donors who support the directors, superintendent, and teachers and provide water, food, and materials for this new construction.
Chairman of the Board of Directors