“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
Around the globe, people are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. For those who have been ordered to shelter in place, there is no gathering for worship. There are shortages of food and basic hygiene products. Children are unable to go to school. Many adults are unable to work and fearful about how they will survive financially. The health care system is strained to its limits. These experiences are new and, until recently, unthinkable for people in developed countries. But, for most of us, the experience is temporary.
In Haiti, the unthinkable is everyday life – food shortages, businesses closed by a crisis, economic turmoil, lack of health care, limited education. As Covid-19 covers the island, the pain will only deepen. Instead of food shortages, the threat of starvation. Instead of limited health care, no access to health care. Instead of offering church online as American pastors can, several Haitian pastors were arrested March 22 for offering church services in person.
“Bad news for us.” The message came from one of our orphanage directors in Haiti. “Corona virus come. School will close tomorrow. Only 50 beds for all the country. No foods no cleaning products. Many problems. God knows.” Yes. God knows - and promises to help.
“For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’” Isaiah 41:13.
One of the ways God will help in Haiti is through his people - ordinary people like you and me who are blessed to know that Jesus Christ gave his life to redeem us. He will help through those who understand the urgency of sharing this message with as many people as possible. That’s why, even in troubled times, we think of Branch Lutheran Schools of Haiti with joy. More than 950 children are learning the gospel, reading it for themselves, and sharing it with others. The schools are growing rapidly and God continues to provide exciting opportunities. With your support, we added a middle school in 2019 and we’re preparing to open four vocational training centers this year so orphans reaching the age of 18 and adults from the community can learn marketable skills and receive spiritual support.
We know God will bring Branch Schools through this current crisis. Because of seeds planted and systems in place, students and teachers are already better equipped to endure. Please continue to support this vital work.
We pray God will keep you safe as you work through the challenge of Covid-19 in your own life. Our friends in Haiti pray for you also. There, even school children understand crisis – they have known little else. Praise God that through your love, prayers, and gifts, they, too, have hope of a better tomorrow on earth and eternity in heaven!
Lee Petersen, Chairman of the Board of Directors, and all your friends at Branch Schools