International Ministries

The Last shall be First...

May 1, 2012 Journal
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The story of a humble gardener

Dear Loved Ones,



The mission field is a complex situation where we meet all kind of challenges. Sometimes it is hard to tell what to do in Haiti or to limit ourselves from all that is needed to be done. That’s why Nzunga says we are in Haiti to rejoice and to cry with our Haitian brothers and sisters.

 Last week we buried a good friend in Limbe. As you can imagine, we have been to many funerals but Mr. Abel Grimard's death brought a different way of thinking. We all know when a funeral has many people, it means that person is well known because he is rich, a leader at his church, has a big job, a position in the city, or well known children; but none of these qualifications applies to Mr. Grimard. He was a gardener. He worked in the field planting rice, beans, manioc, sugar cane, yam, vegetables,... all his life. This is not a position of status where one will worry to find a seat for or to serve when you show up. Just a no name...

It is only after we met a lady who came to visit the widow that we realized that our understanding of the definition of a “position” in life was wrong.

 Here is a short story around his life that has moved us to tears.

One poor lady, and we mean poor by all the definitions of the world, lived by helping clean the gardens of our dear and good friend, Mr. Abel Grimard. Unfortunately, Mr. Abel died on Monday April 2 and the funeral was set for Wednesday April 11. This poor lady was crying for her boss who was dead and she could not attend his funeral because she had no shoes.

Mrs. Abel Grimard shared the situation of the lady with Pastor Kihomi who took 4 pair of shoes to have the poor lady try on. The next day when Kihomi checked with the lady, the poor lady has shared some with other women who wanted also to attend the funeral but did not have good looking shoes. Most of those who attended the funerals are the people who were cleaning his gardens. Although he paid them very small money, he was also giving them whatever they could get in the garden (the harvest) to feed their families.

His wife, an auxiliary nurse, works in health education and prevention program. In fact she is of Kihomi’s strongest Community Health Evangelism (CHE) trainer. She is the one who hosted the artists, victims of the earthquake and is very involved in her church. They are both known for helping other people.

In the Haitian culture no matter how poor one is, he/she has to have a nice pair of shoes, nice looking clothes for church services, weddings and funerals. No one is encouraged to expose his/her poverty in public.


We have learned from the lady’s action how Mr. Grimard has impacted those he was helping, the poorest of the poor.

With his faith in Christ and a big heart for other people, he has, through his life, preached to people around him God’s word… “LOVE” one another.

A poor lady sharing the shoes she was given with other poor ladies challenges all of us with the question: How much and when do we have ENOUGH in this world we all live in to start sharing?


Please be praying for us as we try to help those who are in need of assistance.


Yours serving the Master in Haiti


Nzunga & Kihomi


Dear Friends,


A standing room only funeral for a gardener!  What a testimony that we can all do God’s work no matter our station in life.  I wondered as I read this beautiful story how many would be at my funeral because I touched their lives in a positive way?  How much more money and time could I give to God for his purposes instead of keeping it for mine?  As Americans we all struggle with these questions but Nzunga and Kihomi have asked the big question.  How much and when is Enough for us.




Dennis Shewell

Mission Partnership Team Communications Advocate and Convener

Nzunga and Kihomi Ministry


Phone: 812-569-1352


Other team Members:

Les Roberson

Diana Peysha

Shawna Gorman

Terry Bivens-Fry

Charles Newman