We’re moving to Cap Haitian with Living Water International!

We have some exciting news to report! The kitchen has been successfully running on it’s own, with our five Haitian staff members doing an amazing job, for over three months now. Our commitment with Outside the Bowl is complete. The time for Brandon and me to leave Port de Paix has come.  We feel confident leaving the kitchen in the hands of God and our wonderful Haitian staff.

Since we knew our time with OTB was coming to an end, we spent the last few months praying and asking the Lord for direction. We won’t be continuing on with OTB, since they will not be doing any more projects in Haiti and we do not particularly want to leave Haiti. We feel we are just beginning to know the culture, language and people. God has continued to give us a passion for Haitian people, serving Him in poor communities, and He continues to break our hearts for what breaks His right here in Haiti.

Haiti has often been referred to as the “land of ngo’s” (non-government organizations). That means when we went searching for other organizations to work for, there were plenty to choose from. But abundance isn’t always good, and we asked the Lord to give us wisdom to sift through them. This last year has been full of new, exciting, crazy, and very difficult experiences. Our goal was to learn from this last year, to take those experiences and apply them somewhere else. We have learned that you can be standing in the very center of God’s will, and still everything around you can be difficult, rocky, and rough. Even though we came to Haiti to set up a kitchen for hungry and malnourished children, He has also been working on our character, wanting us to learn how to walk and abide in Him, trust Him, and live completely for Him. And through it, He has remained faithful, walking with us every step.

As we drew together an idea of what kind of organization we were looking for, what criteria we wanted, what things we weren’t willing to compromise on, the list became long. We prayed that God would show us such an organization, but also that we would also have grace, knowing each organization is going to have its nuances. So instead of looking for the non-existent perfect ngo, we searched for one that focused on telling people about Jesus, along with helping others in a way that dignifies and lifts them up. And we found Living Water International. You can check them out online, at www.water.cc

Living Water International has been around for over twenty years. “They exist to demonstrate the love of God by helping communities acquire desperately needed clean water, and to experience ‘Living Water’-the gospel of Jesus Christ-which alone satisfies the deepest thirst.” After living in Haiti for about a year now, whenever we asked any Haitian what their number one need was, the reply was always ‘clean water’. And, after working for six weeks in a cholera clinic, we saw the complete devastation that can occur simply when people don’t have access to clean water. When we agreed to help in the clinic last November and December, we didn’t understand why God wanted us there. Now, it seems those difficult six weeks of our lives were another way to prepare our hearts for what He had in store for us. The crux of the matter in this whole situation is that as desperately as Haitians need clean water, they also need Jesus. And we love that Living Water has found a way to bring them both.  Living Water has been working in Haiti for a little over five years, with three different locations, and we will be moving to oversee the Cap Haitian projects. These projects include fixing and repairing existing hand pumps, drilling new wells, and providing sanitation and hygiene education.

Just like Outside the Bowl, Living Water is a not for profit organization that relies on donations to carry out their mission. The position that we are accepting is actually a salaried position. Meaning we will have a stable income, and don’t have to raise our own support. This means we won’t be spending a significant amount of time in the States, fundraising, and will able to spend more time in country.  We are sharing this with you because we would like you to think about your current donation, or donations you might make in the future. Under this new model, we no longer solely rely on support raised each month to decide if we can stay or need to come back home. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t want your financial support. It simply means that if you choose to move your support to Living Water International, your donations would go towards a cause we whole-heartedly support and believe in. And in reality, the more money we can help bring to LWI, the more clean water Living Water can bring to people around the world.  If however, your passion still lies with Outside the Bowl and the amazing work that they continue to do, you can certainly continue to support them. Our good friends the Huxleys, have just moved to Tijuana to start the next kitchen, and we know they could use further assistance in their support raising.

The time has come to make this transition, and our hearts are full with thanksgiving. We wanted to particularly take this time to thank each and every one of you for your support.  Your faithful financial support this last year meant that we could continue to work and serve each month here in Haiti-without worrying we might have to come home. You have supported us in so many other important ways too, all very needed for our survival here in Haiti.  We have cherished everything you have done for us-from writing us emails, faithfully praying for us, supporting us financially, sending care packages, to sharing about Haiti with your friends and family, and much more. Thank you. Thank you for showing us what it means to be the body of Christ, as we have felt the extension of His body even this far away.

Of course we’ll continue to update you as we move forward with Living Water International. We have set a tentative date for moving up to Cap Haitian for March 1st, and have made a two-year commitment to them. As we work out the details, the best way to continue to stay updated and informed is through our website, at brandonandjessica.org.  You can also continue to email us, we still have our personal email address or you can contact us both at: brandonandjessicastone@gmail.com. We always love hearing from you, so don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions, comments, and thoughts.

 

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The political situation

Haiti protesters rampage against election results
Wed Dec 08 23:43:08 UTC 2010 
By Joseph Guyler Delva

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Thousands of protesters rampaged through Haiti’s capital and other cities on Wednesday, hurling stones and wrecking property in a wave of unrest against election results they say were rigged by the ruling government coalition.

At least two people were killed in the flaring violence, which appeared to dash international hopes that the U.N.-backed elections held on November 28 could create a stable new leadership for Haiti, an impoverished nation struggling to recover from a devastating January earthquake.

Port-au-Prince descended into chaos as supporters of popular musician and presidential candidate Michel Martelly, who failed to qualify for an election run-off in results announced by electoral authorities, set up burning barricades of timber, boulders and flaming tires across the city.

Protests in which some government buildings were torched were also reported in other cities in the volatile Caribbean country.

A local mayor in the south coast city of Les Cayes, Jean Mario Altenor, said two people were killed by U.N. peacekeepers when protesters tried to burn a local elections bureau. A U.N. police spokesman said he had heard of two reported deaths but had no information about how these had occurred.

Haitian media also reported another person killed in protests in Cap-Haitien in the north.

Haiti’s outgoing President Rene Preval, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon all appealed for calm, urging election candidates with grievances to address them through the legal channels provided by the country’s electoral laws.

“Breaking everything, destroying everything is not going to solve the problem,” Preval said in Port-au-Prince.

Police fired tear gas to prevent a stone-throwing mob from reaching the offices of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) in the Petionville district of the capital, witnesses said.

Preliminary results from the turbulent November 28 elections announced late on Tuesday showed former first lady Mirlande Manigat and Preval’s protege, Jude Celestin, going through to the January run-off, with Martelly narrowly in third place and so excluded.

But these results flew in the face of voting returns previously cited by media and Haitian election observers that had shown Manigat and Martelly as the two run-off qualifiers, not government technocrat Celestin. Martelly had already accused Preval and Celestin of trying to rig the results.

The United States, through its embassy in Port-au-Prince, cast doubt on the CEP results late on Tuesday, saying it was concerned they were “inconsistent with” vote counts observed by “numerous domestic and international observers.”

Rebuffing the U.S. statement, Preval said the electoral council was the sole arbiter of election disputes. “Just because people are protesting in the streets, the council can’t just change one set of results for another,” he said.

“ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD”

U.N. chief Ban expressed concern about what he called “allegations of fraud.” “He also notes that these results are not final and are subject to the provisions stipulated in the electoral law,” U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

Under Haitian electoral law, candidates have 72 hours in which to formally challenge the announced results.

The protesters in Port-au-Prince set fire to the headquarters of Preval’s ruling (Inite) coalition. Businesses and schools stayed closed and many fearful residents stayed home, off the rubble-strewn streets. There was no traffic apart from an occasional police or U.N. vehicle.

Local police appeared to be overwhelmed by the numbers of protesters. U.N. peacekeepers of the more than 12,000-strong U.N. force in Haiti were not seen intervening in the capital.

At least one U.N. helicopter clattered overhead.

Plumes of black smoke rose above the sprawling, crowded city, which bears the scars of the January 12 earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest state. Haiti is also battling a cholera epidemic.

Ban expressed concern about the violence. “A peaceful solution to the current situation is crucial not only to confront the cholera epidemic in the short term but also to create the conditions in the medium term for recovery and development from the earthquake,” his statement said.

The protests erupted in the Petionville, Delmas and Canape Vert districts of the capital, among other areas.

Local radio reported protests in the southern town of Les Cayes in which Martelly supporters burned down government buildings, including the tax and customs offices.

Enraged Martelly supporters tore down, or hurled stones at election posters of Celestin and also of Manigat.

“It’s not money that gives power, it’s the people that should give power,” said one protester, Lafranche Schneider.

“Hang Preval!” other protesters yelled.

“CRITICAL TEST”

American Airlines suspended flights to and from Haiti. Port-au-Prince’s airport appeared to be closed.

“The 2010 elections represent a critical test of whether the Haitian people will determine their destiny through their vote,” the U.S. embassy said in its statement.

The U.N. mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and a joint Organization of American States/Caribbean Community election observer mission had given a cautious initial endorsement of the vote, despite acknowledging irregularities.

The Provisional Electoral Council said Manigat won 31.37 percent of the first-round votes ahead of Celestin with 22.48 percent. It put Martelly less than one percentage point behind Celestin at 21.84 percent.

This was on the basis of just over a million votes counted, out of a total of 4.7 million registered potential voters.

The second round has been provisionally set for January 16, but the date has to be confirmed by electoral authorities.

(Additional reporting by Allyn Gaestel in Port-au-Prince and Patrick Worsnip in New York; Writing by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Eric Beech)