A letter from Mark Hare in Haiti/Dominican Republic
I am sitting here looking at a list of donations for the month of May, and I just feel like I need to give a shout out to all the folks who support Jenny, Keila, Annika and me in this "thing" that we are doing—Jenny serving here in the Dominican Republic with the Dominican Evangelical Church (“IED” for its initials in Spanish), working on community health, and me serving in Haiti with resource-limited farmers through the farmers' organization known as Peasants Movement of Papay (MPP, for its initials in Haitian Creole).
A lot of the people who support us aren't on this list, and never will be. They are the people here in the Dominican Republic who bring us safely home from the supermarket on motorcycles, make food for us in our kitchen, watch our daughters so that we can "get things done," welcome us in the churches we visit and especially in the church up the road in the Cacique barrio where we attend more regularly. Our support people are also the folk who meet me at the border in Haiti when I get across, the ones who make space for me to sleep and make sure there is food to keep me going while I work, the ones who work alongside me, guiding and inspiring me. They are the people in the churches in the States who write us notes and send us cards, with all the kids in the church signing them, or everyone on the mission committee. They are also our families in the States and in Nicaragua who worry about us and pray for us and make sure that we are able to stay connected with their lives, and when they can, visit us. The value of all of this support is utterly immeasurable.
And then there are the ones who are on this list. It is easy at times to forget how much money it takes to keep a family of four going. And, frankly, I would feel really good about myself if I could do what I am doing and somehow make it pay for itself and for our family. Perhaps it is our cultural ideal of “rugged independence” that makes that idea really attractive to me. At the same time, our dependence forces us to recognize that we are part of a bigger picture and particularly that God is in charge of our lives, not us. Humbling.
So, by the Grace of God there are all these folks out there who are willing to take the risk on us, reaching out in faith to make it possible for Jenny and Keila and Annika and me to do this incredible work. I don't know if I want them to know that, but it is so. Each one of us can act with the best of intentions and the purest of hearts, and still screw up. I love what I do (all days except most Tuesdays, and sometimes one or two other days), but there are at least half a dozen folks in Papaye I thought would be my success stories, people who would light their communities on fire with the new agricultural ideas we are sharing. I spent a lot of time investing in training and encouraging them, but in the end they simply didn’t share the vision I have. What is happening is that the folks who are turning their yards into models of abundance and health, and sharing that good news with their neighbors, are people I would never have picked.
It is difficult to realize that I am not really in control, in any which way. Not in our support and even less in my work. One way I could describe it is that it feels something like walking through a very dark forest without knowing if I am on anything that even resembles a path. Then, suddenly and always unexpectedly, I come to a place shining with light and right there is a post with a sign on it that points the way, on down the path that, sure enough, really is there. That path goes on, into the darkness that will soon close in again, but also, hopefully, on to other spaces of light. These moments of clarity usually seem to be a kind of reward for the times I truly let go. They seem to come most often when I fully recognize that I can be the conduit for the work of the Holy Spirit, but I am never in control of where that Spirit will blow. I can only walk, if walk I will, by faith and not by sight.
Final word? It really is a risk they're taking, these folks giving of themselves for us. They are joining us in a mutual leap of faith, and we are grateful for it. Very. If you are one of those risk takers, supporting us with whatever you use to support us, blessings on you. You rock, every one of you.
Mark, Jenny, Keila and Annika
P.S. For more details about the work Jenny and I are doing, please check us out at http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/missionconnections/hare-mark/
Thank you for your letter. I shall share it with our ladies' circle and we shall pray that God will bless you, your family and your ministry. The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it. 1 Thess.5:24
Thanks, Jenny. I just re-read the letter again. I'm not sure how many times I've read it now, but I learn something new every time I read it! Your work is vital to Batey 7!