Rosalva is 17 years old and has been living at the JCI discipleship house for about 3 weeks now. He was born in a small community called Pon Son De. At the age of 5, Rosalvas parents split up and he and his siblings went to live with their father because he had a job; the ability to make sure they had clothes and food as well as the means to send them to school. But some years later Rosalvas father passed away. His mother refused to take him and his siblings back under her care, so he went to live with his uncle. The lack of money, when his father was sick, had already forced Rosalva to drop out of school at the age of 10 and it wasn’t long after that, at the age of 14, that he ran into a pretty serious problem. One day he was on a bus for a short trip from one town to the next. The bus was going on a longer trip but he was getting off before the end of the line. He decided he would just pay 1/3 of the total price, but still twice as much as what his trip would cost by other means of transportation. Some other people on the bus decided that because he had taken up space for someone who could have gone the whole trip and paid the full price, that they would punish him. They started yelling at him and decided that they would take him to the next town and put him in jail. He spent the next 5 days in the city jail before they transferred him to the main prison. This is where Rosalva spent the next 3 years of his young life.
How Haiti’s prison system works is like this: Someone is accused of a crime. They are put in prison until their court date. This sometimes can take years. Then after they are sentenced, their sentence is tacked onto the time that they already served. But that’s not where their troubles end. In some prisons, there can be 40 or more men per cell at one time. Cells range in size, but with that many men there is no room to sit comfortably, let alone lay down to sleep. Meals are rare. Sometimes they may go days without eating. In a lot of prisons, the prisoners depend of their families to bring them food. Now we come to the end of their sentence. The men now have to pay a specific amount of money, determined by the prison. If they don’t have the money to pay, they sit in the prison until they have the money. For some men this can be years.
Now we come back to Rosalva. Some friends of ours had been visiting the prison in St. Marc where Rosalva was imprisoned. They had been praying with him and many of the other men. One day after they visited the prison and prayed with Rosalva, he told the other men in his cell that he felt that he would be leaving soon. They just kind of laughed and went of with their day. But a few days later, the head guard came to Rosalva and told him he was free to go… without making his payment.
Now, Rosalva had nowhere to go and we heard through our friends that he was looking for place to stay. He had goals of going back to school and learning English. When he had been in the prison, he had come to know the Lord through this group that had been coming and praying with them and encouraging them. So he was also looking for a place that would allow him to grow in his faith as well. After hearing this, we decided that it was something that we wanted to help him out with. So, Rosalva has been living alongside us now for about 3 weeks. He’s been attending out English classes and bible studies, and on Wednesday started attending school. We’re very excited to see what God has in store for his young man. He’s very excited to visit the prisons with us and encourage men who are in the very situation that he knows all too well. We ask you to pray for Rosalva. Pray for his schooling and his spiritual walk. We also ask that if his story has touched your heart at all, to think about supporting him to go to school. We feel this is a worthy cause, to see that this child of God is looked after and cared for as best we can.
Thank you all for the prayers and support.
“Pic of the Day” #18 This little girl is showing off her new gold shoes! We got to go to a school and fit the children for new shoes! Thanks to Haitians Helping Haitians for letting us be a part of this awesome experience! God’s provision allowed us to give each student a new pair of shoes!