Woven throughout Coreluv’s journey in Haiti, there have been distinct people that God has divinely knit us together with along the way. These specific people have made forever impressions upon our hearts. Bernard was one of those people! It is with great sadness that Bernard recently succumbed to severe pneumonia and passed away.
Coreluv lost a GREAT MAN!
In 2012, after Coreluv acquired its first guesthouse in Haiti (complete with our first string of missionaries …Jacob Sangster, T.J. & Lanie Guidry, & Clay King), we began hosting mission teams consistently. Most of the guest houses in Haiti are surrounded by concrete security fencing with iron gates. It is common to hire a gatekeeper who will stand watch over the gate both to protect the home, and allow access on and off the property.
Bernard was one of Coreluv’s first hires in Haiti. He was hired in 2012 as the security guard/gatekeeper for the Coreluv guesthouse. Bernard soon became one of Coreluv’s most beloved staff members!
To give you a little bit of Bernard’s history, Bernard was a husband to his beautiful wife and father to eleven children at the time. Bernard’s family was extremely poor! The majority of Haitians search for jobs but more times than none, their search proves unsuccessful. This was Bernard’s situation. Bernard was desperate to feed his family and through divine intervention God lead him to our Coreluv guesthouse to interview for the gatekeeper position. Bernard could not have been a better hire for us!!!
In the early days, when Coreluv was beginning to evolve into a structured mission base in Haiti, my family spent a bigger portion of our time there. Our memories of Bernard are extremely special!
I remember during one of the extended stays we made every summer how blessed I was to see Bernard come into the guesthouse each night to pack up the remainder of dinner that was cooked that day so that he could deliver it to his family. Bernard felt so blessed and happy to be working with Coreluv and he wore that happiness on his face almost every time we saw him!
Our Coreluv team used to get so tickled when talking to Bernard because the generic answer he would give us for almost anything we said to him was always “WI” (the Haitian creole word for YES!) We’d say hello to Bernard and he’d reply with, “WI!” No matter what you said to him, you could always count on Bernard to reply with a large grin and an emphatic YES! We’d often say, “Bernard is SO nice that if a thief asked to come inside, we’re not so certain that he wouldn’t smile and say YES!”
He was that KIND.
Bernard went above and beyond what was expected of him! He took extreme pride in making sure the outside of our courtyard was always tidy and welcoming for our visiting teams. Bernard also had a knack for gardening. He took it upon himself to paint old tin cans and would cut the tops off of jugs to create colorful matching planters. He was so proud of those plants!
If you drive down our guesthouse driveway today, you will see these vibrant planters welcoming you home.
One particular summer, I asked Bernard if I could place a few of his planters inside of the guesthouse for some added decor. His answer was of course, “WI!” 🙂
When talking to our missionary Jake Sangster recently, he shared with us some of his fondest memories of Bernard:
“Bernard was faithful, always on time and willing to come to work rain or shine. Even during his time of being sick leading to his death, he made sure his son Nathas stood in his place so that his post was watched.”
“I’ve never seen anyone read their bible more than Bernard. When he had down time, he’d spend hours soaking in its tattered pages enthusiastically! Bernard’s love for God was large!”
“Bernard’s love for his family was also immense! He was the father of 12 children. Life was difficult; however, he loved each of his children and thought each were equally special. I remember seeing him look at his newest son born just two years ago. The look on his face as he stared at his son made it seem as if his old tired face had melted away and youth re-consumed his entire being!”
Although our entire Coreluv team is saddened by Bernard’s passing, we know that we will see him again in heaven one day. I can almost guarantee that Bernard will have a smile on his face and he wouldn’t miss for the world being there to welcome us through the gate!
To know him was to love him,
Mandy Reiszner & The Coreluv Team
Please pray for Coreluv as we are praying about starting “The Gatekeeper Security Company” in honor of Bernard. This project will help provide jobs within our job skills training program in Haiti as well as provide on going support for Bernard’s family.