Battle At The Mole…

I had written earlier this week that my family would be heading to the mole to purchase the land. We were hoping to do this on Saturday. However, the rivers were up due to the rain and we weren’t able to go. So on Monday we left with 15 of our Haitian friends (who will move with us to the Mole). It was quite the adventure with two flat tires, 6 kids, and a 6 hour ride. We were fairly worn out when we got there.

Jose and I wanted to show everyone the town, the land we would be purchasing, and the beautiful beach. All the pictures on the right side of the blog are from Tuesday’s day at the beach. As for our staff and our family – it was a wonderful trip. EVERYONE loved the town. The slow-pace of the village, the large streets, the beautiful greenery – it truly is one of the prettiest places I’ve ever visited. There were moments on the trip – where you think you’re in another country. Seeing people travel by donkeys – I imagined for a moment we were in the Holy Lands. There aren’t tap taps or even motos. When you cross each street – you look both ways – only so cows or goats don’t run you over. I’ve never in my life seen so many plants, flowers, grass, and palm trees in Haiti.

The town is quiet. You don’t hear loud music, shouting, or vehicles. This is a place where fellowship is key. The children do not run up to you and say blan, blan, blan. There is no parade or fanfare because we’re Americans. They all loved seeing the two little white babies – but outside of that – we blended into the background. The children might wave at you but they don’t run up to hold your hand. The people may or may not even notice you while you walk their spacious streets. Again – I felt like we were in a different country.

The people were very receptive to us.  The town has power (for the street lights only) from 7pm-10pm. When the clock strikes 7 – you see the small children take to the streets to play soccer or study. Yet even when they’re out playing – the town is still so quiet. This is a place where my children can take to the streets at 7pm too and never once will I wonder if they’re okay. The crime rate in the town is low. It’s been weeks since anyone has been arrested for anything.

Our family and staff walked the streets in the evenings simply talking with the community. With the deep Catholic roots – we knew we wanted to approach this town slowly – getting to know them first before ever trying to talk to them about our God. So that’s what we did. We stopped and asked people how they were doing. We asked the names of their children or simply greeted them with friendly chatter. They were warm and receptive.

The staff and I stayed up late talking and laughing. WOW – DO I MISS HAITIAN FELLOWSHIP!! If I were in St. Louis I would have felt compelled to work –  to be answering emails or booking tickets (which in just the two days I was gone I came home to 423 emails). But having no electricity, tv, or internet – all we had to do was to sit and talk with each other. We laughed until we cried. We dreamed together. We prayed together.

It was so funny the last evening we were there. I had asked Benna to go get all of us some Boissons (drinks). He asked us were we sure we wanted this so late at night. We all agreed – yes we’re thirsty. So imagine our surprise when he shows up with this black plastic bag full of fish! He thought I said I wanted Poissons. LOL! We still laugh about it even now. He brought us the stinkiest little fish around 10:00 at night! No one wanted it in their hotel room so we ended up giving it to a family who lives close by.

So why did I call this blog the Battle at the Mole? Because while the fellowship was wonderful – our purpose for visiting was to purchase the land. What sounds so easy – buying land that is for sale – ended up being a nightmare. The land we want is several acres. It covers one side of a mountain and it’s valley has a luscious garden. No one has ever tried to buy this land before we looked at it. When we were out last month we had decided on a price of 12,000.00 per Karo (which is about 1.5 acres).

There is another Preacher in the town. He has a school that he runs. This pastor does NOT want any other mission to come to the Mole. He went to the landowner after hearing we wanted to buy land. He offered him 20,000.00 per Karo. He told them if the mission met that price to let him know and he would outbid us no matter what. He then told the mayor whatever land the mission looks at – to let him know and he will buy it for a better price. He will not build on the land – he simply will buy it to keep us from coming.

What kind of crazy “Pastor” does not want a mission to come and bring people to the Lord? We believe the reason why some of this town hasn’t developed is because of this type of hidden corruption. Some of the town people believe that he is blocking missions from coming because he is doing some crooked things and doesn’t want to be exposed. It makes a little bit of sense because where is he getting all this money to just buy any land that we might want? Looking at the town itself – you’d think you were in a sleepy little drama-free village. But I’m telling you wherever we tried to do business – the corruption was there.

We thought we had reached an agreement with the man responsible for the land. It was 8,000.00 more than what we had agreed on but we gave the money and signed the papers the night before we left. The next morning however, we got a phone call. The man we gave the money to might be responsible for the land but he doesn’t own it. The guy who owns it is in PAP. So we wasted 3 days talking to someone who acted like the land was his – even gave us paperwork about it – but it really wasn’t. We got our money back and now Wisley will head to PAP to meet with the true land owners.

This was very disappointing to us to say the least. The trickiest part of starting any new campus plant is purchasing the land. Our mission is a pro at it as we have land in nearly every village in the northwest. But even Wisley was surprised by this week’s events.

This same kind of shady corruption happened as we were looking for homes. My family will need to rent a home the first year until we can build one. Most of the homes were very small which we realized when God called us to the Mole that he didn’t say we’d have it easy. We knew we’d be leaving the comforts of generators that run nearly all day long, ice, air conditioning when there’s power, and a home where 7 children can have room to run and play.

Imagine our surprise though when we arrived and found a small two-story home. It’s floor plan doesn’t make a lot of sense but the top floor has 5 small bedrooms (sort of) and a bathroom. It has running water. The windows are like American windows and the doors actually flush with the ground so rats/bugs cannot enter in!! I told God I’d give up a lot of things but I was not called to win rats to the Lord! This is a place that is sealed up so nicely that there is no rat coming inside!!

The first floor as two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen area. Our home school teacher (Beth) and our interpreter (Pierre) could live in those two rooms. Then the kitchen area is a decent size so we could cook for small groups that come to minister there!

Are you serious? There is a home like that in the northwest part of Haiti? And not only that but it’s in the Mole? It’s not the perfect little house you’d dream of living in and again it has a crazy set-up  – but at the same time – – it’s that perfect little house – better than what we thought we could ever find to rent in Haiti.

We were originally told we could rent it for 3,000.00 for the year. When we tried to really lock in the price it had gone up to 5000.00. Ugh! We were told when we left that 5K would be the final price. But we were told 3K was the final price the day before. So again – it’s kind of shady.

I feel like working in the tent city and facing all the frustrations there was God’s way of training us for what lies ahead. We plan to head back there early next week for the next feeding of the 52 families.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

You all have asked me what our needs are. You have asked me what you can pray for specifically. I mean this with no disrespect but simply want to point out a reality. Realize this – every time I make a request for help –  whether it’s for christmas decorations, personal support, baby orphanage support, or helping in the tent city – everyone asks what they can do to help. I get emails, blog posts, or facebook posts about people wanting to help. But the reality is – maybe 1 or 2 people actually follow through. I’m just being really honest. I think we all live in a world where we think someone else will take care of a need – so we (ourselves) make excuses why it’s okay to look the other way. I do it too. It’s just so easy to rationalize that the world’s problems are someone else’s.

I am still compiling a list of our needs. It’s just such a different life for us and I’m trying to figure out what all our needs will be. But here are some specific things that our family of 9 simply can’t do alone.

PRAYERS:

1) Pray for the purchasing of the mission land. We have groups coming to build the church in June. It is obvious that satan is battling us for a reason. It’s because he knows that we are going to change this town for the sake of Christ.

2) Pray for the transitioning of our family – for the home that God wants us to rent the first year. For the funds for that home. For the tears that will be shed when we leave and for the new family and friends we will meet.

3) Begin praying for the hearts of the people in the Mole. That when the time is right – they will be open to receive the word of God.

4) For the hearts of those that are corrupt and yet in positions of power. For the Baptist preacher who has forgotten His calling.

5) For the employees who are going with us and the transitions that will take place in their lives.

6) For the displaced orphans and the granmoun who will call the mole home. For their protection in all ways – until the campus is ready for them.

7) For the funds to run this campus and to reach out to the community.

CURRENT NEEDS:

**The plan is to move to the mole by the end of the summer.

1) For a quiet, small generator  that we can run 5-8 hours a day so we might be able to keep food in a refrigerator, have internet a few hours a day, and charge batteries for flashlights and a fan in the evenings. (About 6,500.00)

2) For an inverter system/batteries that can help give some electricity when the generator is off. (About 2,000.00)

2) For a 4-wheeler, gator, or other small vehicle that we can quickly take our children to the hospital in Jean Rebel (about an hour away) in case of emergency or for other misc. transportation needs.  (About 5,500.00)

3) For a gas stove. (about 400.00)

4) For a gas dryer. We have 4 kids still in cloth diapers and we need to be able to keep up with the demand – especially during rainy season. (about 400.00)

5) For the funds for our home. We paid for our home in St. Louis by fundraising for it BEFORE we moved to Haiti. As wedding gifts we asked for donations to be made to the mission. We lived with my parents the first year we were married so that we could use our rent money to build our home. Now imagine leaving that with your 7 children and not really having another place to call home – or the funds to start from scratch. As selfish as it is – I have cried over leaving our home in St. Louis almost as much as I’ve cried about leaving our Haitian family here. It’s all Jose and I have ever had that felt like home. It has all the memories of our married time in Haiti and our kids have never known anything different. I cannot wrap my mind around how we will ever afford to build even two rooms much less a home – but I know God told us to go – and He always takes care of my family.  (About 40,000.00)

****

I am learning not only to believe IN God but to BELIEVE God… who He is – what He can do – and who I am in Him. I cling to the promise that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Please pray for this amazing journey that God is taking our family on.

The top row of pictures is the land the mission is looking to buy. The bottom pictures are from the beach which is about a block from the land.

Comments

  1. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your battle! I feel like we’re right there with you waging war on Satan. Your such an incredible inspiration to all of us here in the states. I will share this with my Bible study so they will know how specifically to pray. I can imagine how excited the town is to have such a wonderful couple like you to fellowship with.

  2. I got chills reading your blog. Thank you for sharing the history of the Mole. While the physical battles there are over the spiritual ones remain strong. I love reading how God is working in your lives. Thank you for taking us along this amazing journey.

  3. I think it’s funny that 40 people posted on your blog about moving to the mole and when you shared that few people actually follow through with their questions about helping – it’s silent! I appreciate your honesty. I’ve got a friend who sales generators. I’m going to see what they can do.
    love you guys!

  4. Irving Elizee says:

    Congratulations to the Castillo family ! My name is Irving Elizee, haitian-american leaving in South Florida, founder of Motion, MOLE ST NICOLAS IN ACTION, a non-profit organization well known in the area and also one of the owner of the hotel next door in construction.
    I salute your courage, your perseverance and your faith in God. Please do not let you intimidated by anyone!Continue your journey. The beautiful Mole is welcome you. Any thing i can help i will. I am also a civil engeneer and well known in the community. My phone number :305-528-1155
    Let’s keep in touch!
    Truly yours !

    Irving Elizee

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