This is the 2nd blog in a series on everyday people who are making a difference in Haiti, the poorest nation in the western hemisphere.
There is a scene from the movie 42: The Jackie Robinson Story, in which Wendell Smith, the person assigned by Branch Rickey to be Jackie’s chronicler and advance man, picks up Jackie from the airport after he returns from Spring training in Panama. Jackie is not too happy to see Wendell and lets his feelings be known by his expression and tone of his voice. While traveling in the car Wendell confronts Jackie about his attitude and reminds Jackie that he is not the only one being persecuted through all of this. In a defining moment Jackie apologizes and confesses to Wendell: “I don’t like needing people to be there for me; I don’t like needing anyone for anything.” How true that can be for most of us. It is the American way to want to go it on our own; to be a self made man (or woman); to keep the stiff upper lip and pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps; to give but never have to receive. I, too, need to confess it: “I need other people in my life to truly succeed at anything.” I once heard a seminar speaker-Laura Gallagher, a person who is now a friend; quote an African Proverb that went like this: “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.” That resonated with me and changed my entire way of thinking.
So what does this have to do with our next hero? Let me introduce Kesmy St. Louis, the featured speaker at the Schools For Haiti Fundraiser on March 29th at the Madison Marriott West. Kesmy will be sharing his own story at the event so I will limit much of his history here except to share that at the tender age of 12, he lost both of his arms in a tragic accident, significantly limiting his ability to do things most of us take for granted. In addition, he was born the 6th child of 12 in the poverty of Haiti; his hope for a future could have been bleak and he will be dependent on others for the rest of his life.
By the grace of God though, Haitian Missionaries were brought into Kesmy’s life and through their prayers and support he learned about Jesus, received an education, was brought to the United States for doctoring, and is now attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He is also the founder of Mighty Grace Ministries in Haiti where he returns during school breaks and the summer to serve in this ministry, helping his small home community of Lagrange, Haiti. Through this Kesmy has had to learn to trust in God and the people that God puts in his path so he can carry out the mission he knows God is leading him to. Unlike many of us, the thought of being a self made person is not an option for Kesmy.
How, in my opinion, does this make Kesmy a hero? To explain this I revert back to the movie,42. Earlier in the movie Jackie is welcomed into the home of Mr. Brooks when he arrives for his first Spring training in Florida. When they meet Mr. Brooks addresses Jackie as a hero but Jackie politely refuses to accept the honor. Mr. Brooks explains to Jackie that while he may not see himself as a hero, in the eyes of every young Negro boy in Florida he is most certainly a hero. It was a wonderful moment in the movie. So before Jackie ever made it as a success in the big leagues he had become a hero for simply showing up under very difficult circumstances; for accepting the challenge in the face of great adversity.
While on a smaller scale, Kesmy St. Louis has a similar situation. In the face of adversity he could have thrown in the towel. It would have been easy to think in terms of “woe is me” and have a fatalist view of life. Instead, when he returns to Haiti he brings hope to many in his home town and to others who know him, like me, for simply having the courage to show up. It has been said that God does not ask us about our ability, but about our availability, and if we are faithful, he will increase our capability.
Now that Kesmy is in the United States it could be easy to desire to stay here with all of our modern conveniences and opportunities, but that is not what Kesmy intends to do. He has a large vision for his home town of Lagrange and for Haiti. He, with the help of others, has already started a summer Bible camp for the kids and his vision includes building an orphanage and a Preschool-12th grade Christian School giving the kids the chance at a better life. Mighty Grace Ministries also plans to start a Bible School so they can better equip the Saints for service.
Kesmy says: “We will never let poverty rule our minds because poverty is a choice and we will not let it affect us negatively. Instead we used what we had to make a living and considered it a blessing when we had enough, whether it was little or much.” I put him in my hero status. Jackie Robinson said that God built him to last. I’m confident God has also built Kesmy to last.
You can hear Kesmy’s story by attending the Schools For Haiti Fundraiser on March 29th at the Madison Marriott West. We know that the success of this fundraiser depends on the support of many. Jackie Robinson could not go it alone, Kesmy cannot go it alone, and we cannot too go it alone. We confess our need for your help. Would you please consider being a part of our efforts? Get more information on the event by clicking on the Facebook link below.
Thank you in advance for your support.
Douglas Fearing, President
Did you know?
- Average per pupil spending on K-12 education in Wisconsin was $11,774.00 in 2011 as reported by the US Census Bureau.
- You can support a student for 3 months for $105.00 through Schools For Haiti.
- You can support a student for $420 per year through Schools For Haiti.
- You can support a teacher for $1,400 per year through Schools For Haiti.
- You can support an orphanage for 3 months for $6,900 through Schools For Haiti.
- You can support a school for $26,000 per year through Schools For Haiti.
*If you wish to donate items for the use of our silent auction please contact Lois Fearing at 608-443-2597 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.