Branch Schools is beginning a new blog series this spring to take a closer look at some of the Bible verses used in past newsletters, posts on Facebook, and more. Read on to learn more about these verses, why they were chosen, and what they mean to Branch Schools!
Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
This verse was shared on Facebook for New Year's Day, as well as included in the January newsletter. At the beginning of the new year, this verse is a wonderful reminder that no matter what lies ahead, God has a plan. For Branch Schools, this is especially comforting in the midst of the many challenges in Haiti.
2021 was a very difficult year in Haiti. The presidential election in February created poltical divisions, escalating in the summer when the president was assassinated. An earthquake in August forced thousands of people out of their homes, and gang activity grew more bold, especially around Port-au-Prince--now nearly impossible to enter due to the gangs controlling all of the major roads. Throughout all of this, food prices have risen extensively.
It can easily feel hopeless when seeing these horrible conditions. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere; a situation which began many years ago when Haiti fought for its independence from France in 1804. The payment that France demanded resulted in Haiti's deep debt and struggle to grow and prosper. In the 218 years since then, many people have prayed for safety and security in Haiti, but it seems that nothing will ever change. In this struggle, it can be hard to continue believing that God has a plan for Haiti.
The exiled Israelites, living under Babylon's dominon, probably had a hard time believing that God had a plan for them. In Jeremiah 28, a false prophet named Hananiah was telling people that God would free Israel from Babylon within two years, which would have been welcome news to the Israelites. But the Lord told Jeremiah that Hananiah was lying--instead, Jeremiah was to tell the people to "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters..." (Jeremiah 29:5-6). In other words--get comfortable. The Israelites were going to be under Babylon's rule for much longer than two years. In fact, the Lord spoke through Jeremiah that it would be seventy years. Immediately after this is verse 11: "For I know the plans I have for you...plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Although the Israelites didn't want to hear that they would remain in Babylon for seventy years, the Lord promised that He had a plan for them.
God's plan wasn't only to bring the Israelites back from captivity in Babylon. He also had a plan to free them from the captivity of their sins. This was the greatest hope that the Israelites had, and this plan wasn't just for them, but for the whole world. This hope found its fulfillment in Jesus. His life and death freed us all from captivity to sin. Because He has done such great things for us--freeing us and giving us the hope and the future of heaven--we can trust that God has a plan for Haiti, too. With your help and support, Branch Schools will continue to provide funding for the five schools that serve over a thousand students for a long time, as well as continue to ask for your prayers that God's will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Branch Lutheran Schools of Haiti, Inc.