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Delivering food, shelter, and hope to the poorest of the poor
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told to “follow my dreams.” That message seems to be everywhere in American society. As children, we’re told we can be anything we want. We can reach for the stars!
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that message, but what if God’s plan for us is better than our own dreams for ourselves?
On a recent trip to Haiti, I was reminded of this as I listened to a faithful servant of the Lord tell his life story. Father Glenn Meaux, founder of Kobonal Haiti Mission, explained how God interrupted his personal plans to make him a missionary priest, capable of serving the poorest of the poor in Haiti’s Central Plateau.
“Fr. Jim Flanigan, the founder of our order, said, ‘Glenn, go to Haiti.’ I said, ‘Not a chance,’” Fr. Meaux recalled. But Fr. Flanigan didn’t give up. He was convinced Haiti was the perfect fit for the young priest from Louisiana. Finally, Fr. Meaux agreed to visit the impoverished Caribbean nation.
“I visited in 1985, I went home and prayed and discerned; and course, God gave me no other choice,” Fr. Meaux said with a smile.
Even though he was reluctant to accept God’s call to Haiti at first, Fr. Meaux trusted his obedience to the Lord would result in blessings. It wasn’t an easy start; his assignment placed him in the village of Kobonal, known as the “darkest corner of the Diocese of HInche.”
“I raised funds, and came in 1989. When I arrived, there was no agriculture, there were no irrigation systems; there was literally no hope at the time,” he remembers. “The people were not only materially impoverished, but they were morally and spiritually destitute as well. We found a people enslaved and oppressed by black magic priests and their ritualistic services. Voodoo was prevalent, and zombiism and ritualistic sacrifices were practiced.”
Fr. Meaux continued to trust God’s plan, and through daily obedience, fought against the deep material and spiritual poverty in the community. He started a Catholic school, built decent homes for families in small shacks, distributed food, drilled clean water wells, encouraged Christian marriage, and shared the Gospel continually.
Slowly, Kobonal began to change. The darkest corner of the diocese transformed into a beacon of light filled with hope and the love of Christ – all because Fr. Meaux allowed God to dream on his behalf. Lives have been changed and God’s Kingdom has been advanced in mighty ways since them.
Fr. Meaux can’t imagine what might have happened if the Lord had left him to his own path.
“The Lord did good,” Fr. Meaux told me. “The Lord did good.”