Plant the Flag

Posted: August 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

Sometimes I feel as if getting things accomplished in Haiti is sort of like planting a flag on Mount Everest or even on the moon.  The planting of the flag is easy once you get there.  It is the getting there that is the struggle.

It is not unusual for me to receive e-mails from supporters asking about a project that they are interested in or that they have given money toward.  And often my seemingly lame response is that, “We are working on it” or “We are waiting for …” or “We’ll get it to.”

As I look at some of the projects/programs/ministries that we are involved in, I sometimes feel like I am climbing Mount Everest.  The Student Sponsorship where we (you) send 50 Cite Soleil students to school is an example.  The actual sending of the students to school is the easy part.  It is kind of like planting the flag on the moon.  It is the getting to that place where we can send them that is the struggle.  It is the negotiating with the forces surrounding the kids that is the struggle.  The trying not to get worn down and lose focus and find my time and resources being taken instead of given that is the struggle

When I think of the months that it is taking us to get the five houses in Corail finished for the five families that are going to live there, I feel that it’s been like trying to fly to the moon without the rocket. Each step of the way has been a challenge but it now looks as if we are almost finished. Land purchased, houses built, septic dug, well being drilled, latrines will be installed and then we are finished. Families move in. Done. Maybe.

I don’t want you to think that I get discouraged by the struggles that we face to get things done here in Haiti.  It is like climbing the mountain; it’s what has to happen to plant the flag.

Heartline excels at plodding.  I love the well known words of Willam Carey, the missionary to India:

I can plod. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.

I don’t intend these few words to be an advertisement of what Heartline does in Haiti.  No rather I want to encourage you to stay the course, to hang in there, to move forward, to not give up, to plod until you plant the flag.  And I want to encourage myself as well.


  1. Troy & Tara says:

    Ha. You too are a exceptionally skilled plodder. Just like that missionary guy to India.

  2. Kathy Tonagel says:

    Even though I have come to understand you are rock-solid, I am reminded today you are also “human”~~with the emotions we all have. I admire you so much. My husband is in the Dominican Republic with a missions group and said he is realizing how much the missionaries there are sacrificing and how devoted they are. That’s you!

  3. Terri Urban says:

    Hi John and Beth,
    So glad you are near to planting the flag on those houses. It really has been like climbing Mt. Everest, hasn’t it? I thank you for your work. One house will be for Figi and her family, and I think one will be for Issac Livesay’s biological family if memory from Tara’s blog months ago serves. Maybe someone could write a blog on the moving in? I would love to know the details! It sounds like the moving in is close? And it sounds like those water wells are going to be transformative in that community.

    Thank you for plodding on!
    Terri U. in Colorado Springs

  4. Brooke R. says:

    it sounds like a lifetime dissertation that you are writing. at least, being in the place where i am “abd: all but dissertation” in getting my phd, it feels like plodding along.. only your dissertation is 20 years of your life and years of others, and you don’t seem to be talking about quitting anytime soon. i may just print this and put it on the wall in front of me.. i have words from anita roddick about being an activist (though my dissertation is NOT related to that, but i pray the phd will open opportunities for me to be a more effective ally to the poor, oppressed, and those who generally need people standing with them in their struggles), and these words may just help me to continue to plod. *sigh* after all, one of the things i hope to do when i’m done is to get a decent, for the US in a sector not geared towards making a profit, job – wherein i will then be able to send y’all donations on a regular basis. you all inspire me. i want to help people who inspire me.

    • johnmchoul says:

      Perhaps my favorite words in the OT are three words spoken of Gideon and his 300 men after they had slain 125,000 of the Midianites but some of the kings had escaped. In Judges 8:4 we read that Gideon and the 300 were “Weary yet pursuing” as they chased after the kings. I over the years have found much strength in these three words.

  5. kathy says:

    God bless your flag planting endeavors and may the enemy not be playing Capture the Flag anywhere near you.

  6. Linda Cruze says:

    AMEN – thanks for the encouragement to keep on ‘plodding’ for the young men in Jamaica. We are in a similiar place as you are! Cool Water Ministries

  7. lise says:

    I for one am so thankful for you continuing to “plod” along! Thank you for all you do! Love to all the heartline crew!

  8. Stacy Furlow says:


    Up at 3:45 this morning, I linked to you/Heartline on a blog post I was writing. You don’t know me, but you know a friend of mine and your actions have spread in a ripple effect to me in a greatly influential way. I realized this morning that I have never thanked you.

    So thank you and Beth, Tara and Troy, Aaron and Heather, Dr. Jen. I read everything you all write.

    Thank you for plodding along all these years, for writing, for making me think, for sharing your wisdom, for giving courage, for loving Haiti and her people. But mostly for loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Because it is out of this love that you do everything else. A great and humble example to follow.

    Stacy Furlow

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