Djo (pronounced “Joe”), his wife and their four kids are our neighbors. We pass by their simple gray block house each day and always look to see if their sweet faces are peeking out behind the door. Recently as I was walking by they invited me inside. The house is just as simple on the inside. I pass a little room I’m told is the “depot” where the supplies for Madame Djo’s small business are stored. Djo must have seen my eyes stall in the corner where only a few empty soda cases sat. Looking down he said, “We haven’t been able to sell for awhile.” Next I passed through a floor less, roof less open space that Djo says “isn’t finished yet” which leads to the bed, bath, and kitchen. There is one bedroom for this family of six. Two twin beds, a curio shelf with a small television and stereo were the bulk of its contents. I glance up to see large spaces where the metal roof doesn’t cover the concrete block sides in several places and imagine trying to sleep there during rainy season. The kitchen galley stands between the bedroom and the “twalet” (toilet room). But there is no toilet. There is no sink or shower either. The “twalet” only contains one single bucket sitting on the floor. I expect it to smell bad. But it doesn’t. The house is actually very clean. The “kitchen” contains a metal stand that cooks food over charcoal along with a few pots and pans hanging neatly on the wall. I thank them for showing me their home.
Djo has been to our home many times. We were introduced to Djo before we moved to this neighborhood by missionary friends and co-workers that know Djo. When we needed help with odd jobs around the house or a ride home Djo would be the person to call. We called him more often when we became his neighbors. Djo has raised one of our walls so our dog can’t jump over it (and so neighbor boys can’t peep over it to try to catch a glimpse of our girls taking a bucket bath outside), built a trash burning bin in our backyard, installed our driveway, installed a wall inside our house and has used his motorcycle to fetch cooking gas, and large blocks of ice for us many times. Djo is a hard and efficient worker. Every time we have called him with a job he has been eager to take whatever work we offered. Once we asked him if he could help us with a plumbing problem. He came over to take a look but told us that he honestly did not know how to fix the issue. We appreciated that so much and told him so. It is rare to find a Haitian man that won’t tell you he can do whatever it is you ask even if he hasn’t the slightest clue. Djo has never asked us for anything other than once when he knew I was headed to the grocery store and asked me if I could please pick up some peanut butter for his children to have something to eat that night.
During the time we were away over the summer months Djo was in a bad motorcycle accident. We were informed by missionary friends that he could not walk or work for months afterward as a result. One thing Djo and his wife work hard for is to keep their four children in school. The start of school was approaching with no money to pay the fees since Djo had been out of work due to his accident injury. The kids attend the Baptist church school in our neighborhood. The school allowed the kids to begin the fall semester with Djo’s promise that he would do his best to pay the school fees before the new year. Djo humbly came to us asking if we could help him find sponsors for his kids to continue to attend school because they have not been able to come up with this money. He is back to work now (whatever work he can find) but is still behind due to months of not being able to work. He doesn’t want to have to tell his kids they cannot go back to school after Christmas break.
We try to be very careful about how and who we help to make sure we are really helping. When we prayed about how best to help with this particular need the verse “Love your neighbor as yourself” continued to play in my head and heart.
Sometimes Most of the time there isn’t a prescribed solution for the many hard things we encounter on a daily basis as missionaries in one of the poorest countries on earth. We remember that Jesus said “the poor you will always have with you”. The poor are our neighbors. For us the verse “Love your neighbor as yourself” means that if our kids eat, we want our neighbors kids to eat too. If our kids have clothes to wear and a bed to sleep in, we want our neighbors to have those necessities as well. If our kids are able to go to school…
We would love to be able to give Djo’s family the Christmas gift of school sponsorships for all four of his children. The cost is $125 per child to pay for their last and next semester. We would love to find a sponsor family (or multiple sponsors) that would commit to helping this family with future school sponsorships as well. Perhaps if school was not such a huge financial burden on their limited income, they could put more money into finishing their house. We wish we were able to sponsor all the kids but are personally already committed to sponsoring several other children. Therefore, we are giving YOU the opportunity to help us help our neighbors and show them the love of Christ this Christmas.
Please contact us through e-mail at eeream@HeartofGodInternational.org if you are willing to provide a school sponsorship for one, two, three, or all four of Djo’s kids as a Christmas present to them! It is a joy and privilege to love our neighbors by letting others in on loving them too! Please pray and ask if God is leading your family to love on Djo’s kids.
Because He First Loved Us,