While life in Haiti post-earthquake has returned to some semblance of normality, hundreds of people still live in tents. The fence around the mass grave site on National Route One hauntingly reminds passersby of the thousands who lost their lives on Jan. 12, 2010, in a devastating earthquake.
Chris Hindal, director of GARBC International Ministries, and his wife, Deb, arrived at Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, on Wednesday, June 11. Pastor Prédestin Hérard, president of the Association of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Haiti, welcomed them and guided them through an overview of the association’s current ministries.
Reportedly 40 percent of the Haitian population has been infected by chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus. So the Hindals carefully applied repellant and took an antibiotic as a preventative. Praise God, it seems they were not affected.
The Haiti association launched a wholesale food store in April 2013 in the village of Croix des Bouquet through the joint efforts of the International Partnership of Fundamental Baptist Ministries and MacroMicro Enterprise Development in Indianapolis. Pastor Apollos gave the Hindals a tour, explaining the various products on the shelves. The typical customer buys basic food staples in bulk and sells to individuals on the street. Apollos explained, “We need greater inventory in order to attract the larger customers. If we don’t carry everything they want, they go somewhere else for the one-stop convenience.” Though the margins are slim, the business is doing well as a first-year start-up. The shareholders trust in the Lord to grow this faith-based business and use it to provide their needs.
After the earthquake, the IPFBM partnered with Construction for Worldwide Evangelism based in Tampa, Fla., to rebuild three churches. Pastor Earnest shepherds Tabernacle de Lumiere de Tabarre. He says, “We have 100 baptized believers, but about 200 attend on Sunday morning. By Haitian standards, this is a fairly wealthy community. One of our most effective means of outreach is to host dinners at the church by invitation. The invitations are well received and these dinners allow us the opportunity to develop relationships with community people. We also do concerts in the park.” Earnest also has a desire to build a school for both the rich and poor in the community. Praise God for a pastor who is not content to just hold services, but is intentional in evangelism.
The Hindals also had the privilege of visiting the church site for Sanctify Baptist Church of Onaville, sponsored by Desert Hills Baptist Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Desert Hills church, in close collaboration with the congregation in Haiti, designed a new church building, raised the funds, and assisted in the construction. Due to post-earthquake migration of families from the city, the new church is situated in a populous area. On any given Sunday the building is nearly full; people have to bring their own chairs from home because the church has only 10 benches and two padded pews. The church needs to construct at least another 30 benches, which it is slowly doing. Pastor Rony LaPointe says the core congregation of baptized believers has risen to 60 adults. Praise God for the souls being saved through this ministry.
The Association of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Haiti purchased four acres of ground near Port-au-Prince for the future development of association ministries. Hérard drove the Hindals to the new site and explained that the association would first like to begin a Christian school on that property and then build a medical center, evangelism center, and office for the association. The land has been paid for and deeded to the association.
Dr. Jim Bearss, founder of Haiti Bible Institute, made his first contact in Haiti through the IPFBM. Working with Hérard, he established a four-year Bible curriculum based on modular courses to train pastors. Nineteen pastors graduated from the four-year course, and a new group began the same journey. Until this year Haiti Bible Institute has shared with the IPFBM the rental expenses of a house in Petionville, south of Port-au-Prince. Neither party desired to continue the rental, and the Lord provided a new training site for Haiti Bible Institute. The Hindals visited the La Pepiniere guesthouse, where Haiti Bible Institute now meets. It is a wonderful setup for the pastors to attend class, stay for the week, and study. Praise God for His provision and the effectiveness of this ministry.
Through the IPFBM contact with Hérard, Wordsower International, led by Jason Nightengale, established an orphanage in Port-au-Prince called My Father’s House. The first few years the orphanage rented a large house for the girls and two houses for the boys. Wordsower purchased a large tract of bare ground on the top of a hill as the single site for My Father’s House. The site now includes a boys’ dormitory, girls’ dormitory, elementary school building, administrative staff offices, and cafeteria. While the needs are still great, much has been accomplished and 147 boys and girls are off the streets, being educated, cared for, and confronted with their need for Jesus.
The Association of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Haiti is alive and well. Last year it planted 10 new churches. Due to additional training of the pastors, it has set a goal for 25 new churches this coming year. These brothers and sisters deserve our prayer support. As the IPFBM sponsors projects in Haiti from time time, be assured they are investments that are worthy of individual and church support.