We have nearly 200 individuals and 12 churches partnering with us through prayer and/or financial support. That means hundreds of people connected not only to our family's ministry, but also to the people of Haiti! I wanted to write a short blog post to give a brief rundown of Haitian history and to hopefully provide a snapshot into one of the things we love most about Haiti, the fighting spirit of the Haitian people.
Haitians face many challenges, but their resilience is inspiring. This dates back to their revolution which began in 1791 with a coordinated slave rebellion against French colonial rule. In 1804, France granted Haiti its independence, making it the first black republic and second former colony to win independence from its European ruler. In Washington, D.C., we have the Statue of Freedom that stands at the top of the Capitol Building. In Haiti, they have a statue called Le Marron Inconnu (French) or Nèg Mawon (Creole). He is a symbol of Haiti that collectively means unknown slave, the black maroon, escaped slave, and free man. Nèg Mawon holds his machete in one hand and conch shell in the other, sounding the call for other slaves to join him in a fight for freedom.
I took this photo in 2008 but did not get the Haitian National Palace in the shot. At that time it stood brilliantly across from the statue's plaza. On January 12th, 2010, however, the Palace and several other buildings surrounding the statue collapsed in a major earthquake. The destruction across Port-au-Prince was vast and effects of that disaster linger to this day, yet Nèg Mawon survived. Haitians will say, "Nèg Mawon pap janm kraze." The free man will never be destroyed.
Each January 1st we celebrate the beginning of a new year, closing the book on the previous year and looking ahead to the next one. Haitians add another celebration to that day: Independence Day. Their new year holds a double meaning, one that welcomes the new year while paying homage to the history that got them there. Their ancestors fought for their freedom, not just from a tyrannical government across the ocean, but from the bondage in their own land.
We can learn a lot from Haitian history. Our trials may pale in comparison to enslavement and forced labor, but the lesson remains the same: the free man will never be destroyed. May 2018 be a year of freedom for you and an opportunity to adopt a bit of that fighting spirit from our neighbors to the south.