We thought all of us could use a bit of bright news to lighten our day! All puns aside, we wanted to share a very exciting story that’s played out over the past 8 months. God often orchestrates these types of stories at COTP, and we are simply left to look back in awe of how He designs plans beyond what we could even dream.
For the past few years, Haiti has experienced sporadic fuel shortages. For COTP this was a big deal, as we generate all of our own power via a diesel generator. The shortages put us in a vulnerable position. We have experimented with another power option in the past and have known it would help solve these issues moving forward, but the project seemed a bit beyond what we were able to take on at the time.
One of our staff members in our Minnesota office struck up a conversation with a local engineering firm, PowerSystems. They discussed the challenges we were facing on the ground and dreamed about potential solutions. Ola Boye and Josh Mulder, graduates of Dordt University in Sioux Center, IA, wanted to help and make something happen. They had the idea of partnering with a group of senior engineering students at Dordt University to design a system to meet our needs.
In September, Ola and Josh pitched the project to Dordt, and three senior engineering students volunteered to take on the project: Ty White, Matt Benardis, and Jake Dodge. The team met several times throughout the fall semester and put numerous hours into designing a system specifically for COTP. Their progress updates brought so much excitement and hope for the positive implications of this project.
“The talents and skills that have been gained at Dordt University are great, but without application, they become useless,” said White, a senior majoring in Electrical Engineering. “We want to use our gifts and abilities to help people who truly need it.”
By November, the team had finished their design and we pitched the project to our board for the new year. It was exciting, but the task of raising funds and completing the project were still daunting obstacles. However, God definitely had already set plans into motion. The team of Dordt students kicked things off by raising a chunk of money to get the ball rolling. Then another Dordt connection, some former alumni, offered to cover phase 1 of the project! This was a massive blessing! We moved ahead with the team toward an April installation, with the Dordt students leading a team to complete the work in Haiti.
Obviously, the current situation in Haiti and around the world has put a standstill on the installation of this project. Though we are disappointed to have to delay installation, we are so grateful for how the project has fallen into place up to this point and believe that we’ll be able to complete it soon! We stand in awe at yet another example of how God moves in MAJOR ways through people who step out in Faith to support this ministry.