Day 13 – Friday, March 2nd
Relentless Scripture: Matt 5:43; Rev 21:12-21
Relentless Focus: Dog Gone It!
Relentless Example: “And he measured its wall …” Have you ever used the expression “Doggone it!”? You know, at a point of frustration or contention because you forgot to do something, can’t do something, made a mistake, missed an opportunity, walked into a pile of crap, or just recognized you still have some unfinished business to resolve? Sure you have, we all have in some way or another. If we’re honest with ourselves, we probably substituted this tamed phrase for more culturally hip words, like … #@!$; well, you get my drift. I often wondered where do expressions like these originate from? Are they based on some true life story, or do we just enjoy using potty mouth narratives? I will let you be the judge…
Last night as Pastor François and I were sharing a meal together, he informed me that they found one of the compound watch dogs dead that morning. This was totally unexpected, and the cause of death is still unknown. This particular dog was in good health, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the little fellow just ran itself to death on an overly active watch-night at this compound. The dogs’ jobs, especially at night, are to ensure that both people and animals respect the fence line. They protect the kids who are under adult supervision while Pastor doubles as the night watchman. No wonder he doesn’t get a lot of sleep with those dog alarms (motion detectors) going off frequently. Our discussion this morning revealed the need for a permanent night watchman, along with a one more day help foreman for the orphanage and compound. Like Moses, Pastor is wearing himself a little too thin with all the hats that he’s trying to keep on.
You see, although this 3 acre compound is considered gated with a fence line, it’s not entirely protected with the fence wall that you might picture. Most fences, at least in Pignon, are cacti. They may be thick or thin, short or tall, depending upon their age, the weather and soil conditions. Other man-made fences are used here as well, but at a much higher cost.
This particular compound has a combination of concrete blocks and cacti fence walls outlining its perimeter. The block walls can be very effective if at an ideal height of at least 8 ft. with foundation. The cacti fence in some areas has been damaged or cut down by on-looking neighboring outsiders. I’ve been told and have personally witnessed these neighbors taking more liberties with these cacti fences on Pastor’s land with their animals (i.e. donkey, chickens, pigs), trash, and even withdrawing a few items of the kids every now and then.
Pastor is a very loving, forgiving and long-suffering man of God, but I noticed a wee bit of frustration in his voice as he was talking about all his efforts (at no avail) to resolving these issues of trespassing with some of his neighbors. Believe me, his main concern is for the protection (health and safety) of the kids God has entrusted him with, although he says Pignon, by Haitian standards, is a very safe place to live. And that’s why a lot of missionaries live in this region and use this city as a base for their efforts throughout Haiti. He continues to remind me that this is Haiti: where neighborhoods are subject to civil unrest literally overnight. So we must keep much watch, and be in much prayer, every day.
This morning, Pastor called one of his construction friends to come over and survey the fence line to get a cost estimate so he can replace some critical cacti gaps with concrete walls. The gaps by the orphanage and cooking areas are his first priorities.
As I walked the property line with them and recorded some measurements, there were many visual signs of trespassing like animals’ dung and unwanted trash which I couldn’t help but step upon. (Dog Gone It!).
I will now borrow a line Pastor uses on me during most of our conversations, “So what does this mean?”
Well, it means that the first critical gap is about 60 linear ft. and material cost comes to about $850 USD. The labor cost for about 6-8 people performing high to low skills tasks comes to about $72 USD, a day. The second critical gap is about 300 linear ft. (the length of a football field) so it about 5 times the material cost if we can’t negotiate a price break. Unfortunately in Haiti, estimates float around like concrete until they harden over time. ***(This is a project that I (Denny) can work on when I go to Haiti in three weeks. I am going with two guy friends and we could give our manual labor to save some money on this fence. If you feel this would be a cause you would like to give and help make this happen, click here and it will redirect you to JustGive. Make sure that underneath ‘Designate my donation’ you put ‘Haiti-Fence’. 100% of your money will go to that project. Please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org, and let me know if you give, that way we can plan accordingly for our trip. Thank you!)***
I am learning that loving one’s neighbors or enemies at times doesn’t mean straddling the fence on issues worth safeguarding like life itself. Offering forgiveness and praying for those on issues of trespassing is a neighborly act of love, as love covers a multitude of sins. However, our willingness to even die for our neighbors if called to, just reinforces the fact that Christ’s ultimate sacrifice of His life was, in the end, intended to save lives not lose them. While love is always forgiving it is at the same time always protecting. Pastor François loves these kids and if called to, there’s no doubt in my mind he would give his life for them. However, a good sturdy concrete block wall fence will suffice for now.
I personally don’t like fences, but the fact still remains that we live in a fallen world although our full redemption draws near. So, if you really want to see the coolest fence ever constructed, don’t come down here, but go to Revelations 21:12-21 and believe me you won’t see any dogs patrolling it either. Do dogs really go to heaven, or is it just horses?!
Tangible Need: Fence Material and Labor Costs; Workers: Night Watchman, Compound Foreman, and Orphanage worker;
Pray for Loving Haiti: That through Christ’s Love we will Love our Enemies
Pray for Me: Love Continues to Protect Me