Ed’s sponsor is a group called Missionary Ventures International and they operate out of Orlando, Florida. You can check them out at www.MVI.org to learn who they are and how they operate. The Orlando group has missions in 15 countries in Central and South America. MVI is worldwide with associates in every part of the world sponsoring missions in their area. MVI also has a website dedicated to the ministry in Haiti at www.haitifriendship.org. Ed Lockett Jr. is the director of the work in Haiti and you can learn about what he is doing on this website.
We were interested in how his work is funded and he advised us that he gets funds directly from many friends In the USA but his primary funds come from Missionary Ventures. They deposit money into a bank account for him in Orlando and advise him of the money that is available. Ed does not use the banks in Haiti. When Ed needs money, he writes a check and goes to one of his businessmen friends in Haiti who cash the checks for him and give him Haitian currency. They then hold the checks until they come to Miami to buy supplies. It helps both them and Ed on the exchange rate when they cash his checks in the USA. He said that sometimes this might be several months.
Ed’s ministry in Haiti is strong in looking out for the children. They operate several schools. One of them has over 500 students. They believe that the long term answer to the problems of Haiti will come from the next generation. They need to be educated in order to make the necessary changes in their government and economy. Ed’s group does not operate orphanages but they keep several children in their large house for short periods. Ed’s home is called Happy House. Many of the children that they keep temporarily have never seen electric lights or running water.
The ministry keeps a good supply of the native food which is rice and beans. They dispense this food dry as needed. They have fully portable kitchens and often go into needy areas and prepare a big meal for anyone who wishes to come and eat.
They have mission trips of Americans to come to Haiti several times each year. The focus is on medical problems and they bring several doctors and nurses. They also bring people who are experienced in construction to try to update and repair their schools. A new medical group is coming to Haiti to set up a permanent clinic. Ed’s group is working with them to provide the location for them to use for their practice.
Since the earthquake came the biggest immediate need is for tents and tarps to give people some semblance of a home. Right now they are milling around and sleeping under cloth tied on poles and between trees. The cloth does not stop rain when it comes.
Before the earthquake the most common home in Haiti was a mud hut with a thatch roof. Just about all of these crumbled and fell when the earthquake came. The focus of Ed’s group for the next period of time is to help to build better homes for them for the future. They are not looking for people to come down and build a house. They want the Haitian people to do the work to build their own homes. They need construction people who can come and stay for a period of time to supervise the construction and to train the Haitian workers. They need donations from the rest of us to buy the materials.
It is better not to do anything for the people that they can do themselves with our financial help. Even if Ed pays some of them for their work, it helps them and the economy of the community. Ed says that anyone who goes on a mission trip to a foreign land needs to fellowship with the local people and make friends. Sometimes the language is a problem but translators can help with this. It is true that our donated labor is free but the amount of money we spend just getting there would often pay local workers for far more labor on the same project. Encouragement is often the thing that is most needed.
We are always anxious to let people know about our Christianity but the best way we can preach is in the way we treat the natives and how we show our interest in their activities.