This is the love story behind Operation Windmill International, as told by Tami Alexander, a founding board member pictured.
In September of 2003, I was asked to accompany a group of Christian Broadcasters to visit Haiti. When our little group arrived, I was overwhelmed by the extreme poverty. I could feel it the minute the plane landed on the cracked tarmac; a heaviness I had never experience before. Everywhere I looked there was a hopelessness that I could not explain. As we wandered the streets of Port au Prince, Haiti’s capital, I was overcome by the overcrowding, lack of basics, and chaos. Just making a right hand turn at an intersection seemed like an all-day event with much yelling, little surrendering and no help from a street light. It stuck me that we were less than 2 hours from the United States, yet many living here that had little or no resources, water or food. I was beginning to question God's plan for me to visit Haiti. I had nothing to offer Him: no resources, no money and certainly no power. What did He expect me to do? I felt broken and powerless.
Wanting to return to the airport and head back to the United States, the team talked me into visiting MISSION OF HOPE located outside of Port au Prince about 11 miles to the northwest . There I met a team of American and Canadian missionaries who were dedicated to bringing the gospel to Haiti. Their goal was to raise-up a generation of young people for Christ that would significantly change the character of Haiti. As we toured the mission I saw first hand how God was meeting the needs of 1,200 students who turned to the mission for an education, food, and a chance to hear God's word through Sunday school, Christian music and church activities. As I stood in the doorway to the chapel, almost every student turned to touch my hand. Tears streamed down my face as I looked into the faces of those small children.
At the end of our tour, our group was checking out some of the buildings that had been constructed on top of a nearby hill. As I stood looking out over the Caribbean I heard the word, "Windmill." I looked around for the source but all was quiet around me. Again, as I was looking down at the mission, I heard the word, "Windmill." I called out to the director, Brad Johnson, and asked if anyone had said anything to me. They said no and resumed their own conversation. Minutes had passed and I was thanking God for the opportunity to see the mission first hand when again I heard loud and clear the word, "Windmill." It was that minute that I new the Lord was giving me a clear direction of what he wanted me to do in Haiti. Soon after, my husband Kermit and I started Operation Windmill International. Through this experience we have met many who are instrumental in making the windmill project a reality. Daily they are giving of themselves to pray, purchase equipment, donate time, lend resources and help fundraise.
MISSION OF HOPE spends thousands a month to run an antiquated generator system that is ineffective and environmentally damaging. Since the earthquake, the mission has quadrupled in size both in terms of taking on more children left orphaned and in terms of ministry serving the medical needs of the nearby communities. Mission of Hope is operating one of two prosthetics labs in Haiti where thousands come for ambulatory help.
The current generator uses high cost diesel fuel to run approximately 8 to 12 hours a day and then transfers that energy to a battery bank that holds electricity for another 8 to 12 hours depending on the usage. Seldom can Mission of Hope run on a 24 hour cycle. For this reason the need for a wind turbine field is essential for the growth of Mission of Hope. With the proper electricity, children can read and study, air conditioners can be used in the mission's hospital where surgeries are performed and medicine is stored, food can be preserved longer, and with the savings from the host cost diesel fuel, more children can be supported, nurtured and loved.
Something else happened on that first visit to Haiti; I met a beautiful little boy named Clifton. This little guy with the big brown eyes kept calling me “Mama.” At first, I wasn’t buying it. Surely God didn’t take me to Haiti to begin an adoption story. I had just finished raising my own daughter and renewed motherhood at forty three was not part of my plan. But by the end of that first week, Clifton and I both knew that God had started something bigger than we could ever imagine. After a long process and a few twists and turns, Kermit and I were able to complete the adoption of Clifton and four more of his siblings who had been left behind in an orphanage. God has given us a greater gift than I could have ever imagined through the love these children have given us.