Last week's story of the mission trip to Haiti aroused a lot of interest and I hope it led to generous contributions. If you missed the opportunity, you may still help out. Just address your offerings to HAPI % Lee Rainboth 452 530th St. Marcus, IA 51035.
Much interest was also shown in Rainboth, the young man at the center of the project. So I am pleased to bring you more of his story. Lee has used his many talents to serve others in a unique fashion for some time. HAPI (Haitian Artisans for Peace International) offers an opportunity to reach people in many ways. As he says, it should be easy for us here in the US to praise God, who has blessed us so richly. On the other hand, in Haiti, where there is no clean water, sewers are open ditches, hurricanes and riots abound, one might expect just the opposite. Strangely, that is not the case. Here we often take our good fortune for granted, as though we were responsible for it ourselves. But the Haitians, when they learn of God's grace, more often feel that He is the only one who really cares for them. To tell these former voodoo worshipers about the Christian God, HAPI intersperses Bible studies with craft-making sessions. As a result, many who had given up on their lives find renewal and hope, for which they are deeply and openly thankful
There were about 70 people involved at Lee's last session in the Mizak area. Some 35 embroiders craft the incredible note cards, stitching their original designs on fine fabric which they then mount on heavy card stock. There were 25 painters, among them an outstanding 18-year-old whom Rainboth describes as an unwanted child in a desperate situation, but for whom a total transformation was in store. He left at the end of the classes, assured of his personal worth, as effervescent a youth as you would ever want to meet. In fact he told his teacher, "Someday there will be books written about me." Finally, there were eight children in the Youth Photo Club which Lee described as, perhaps, his favorite involvement. Bookmarks, calendars and framed prints are created from the youth photography and all the money from their sales goes directly to provide for the kids' educations and their families' general health. Native leaders were trained to continue the work so all of these activities are on-going, continuing to bring that much-needed income to their people and to supply the shops here in America. None of the shops are in our immediate area but you can order these fascinating items off their website www.haiatianartisans.com. Check it out!
As it is all volunteer work with HAPI, Lee must make his living by other means. It's been said that an artist is truly successful when he is able to live on the income from his own efforts, and that is beginning to fall into place. He participates in shows as far away as Chicago where his works, and some by his Haitian students, have been shown and sold in several well-known galleries.
Much more accessible for us, will be a show he is having in Spencer at Arts on Grand, Aug.11 through Sept. 14. There will be a reception Aug. 15 from 5 pm to 7 pm, with a gallery talk at 5:30. You may also contact Lee locally to see his things. So there are your opportunities to view his works and to negotiate a purchase. Someday, when he is a well known American artist, I am convinced you will be very glad you did.