Areas: Caribbean: Haiti: Outreach Areas
Supporting the Humanitarian Work in Haiti
Scripture urges us to aid others physically as well as sharing with them the gospel of Jesus Christ (James 2:16). Christian love from the body of Christ in America extends to those in Haiti in the form of shipments of humanitarian aid as well work teams that labor for God. Brethren on the island join in this work by:
1. Supporting World Relief work teams or individuals spiritually and logistically.
3. Providing coordination, oversight and support for various projects including grade school construction, well drilling, trade schools, orphanages, hospitals, clinics, the SEED institute, and a nursing home.
4. Assisting in identifying new project areas and opportunities.
Reaching out to the people of Haiti spiritually
Much of the work of the Apostolic Christian Church in Haiti has been classified as humanitarian aid. However, it seems impossible to separate the humanitarian aid from mission work because the Word of God tells us, “In as much as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). The two greatest aspects of mission work are Love and Faith, neither of which exists until they are put into action, more commonly expressed as “works” (James 2). Jesus himself went around healing and feeding those in need.
Several years ago, the MEBSH leadership stated that work teams/groups represented one of the greatest evangelical outreach opportunities of the MEBSH organization. The MEBSH organization was started in 1936 and has now grown to 487 churches… and is still growing. This demonstrates how effective the combined efforts of everyone involved – and more importantly, the blessings of God – have been to further the Gospel in Haiti.
Sunday’s in Haiti provide an opportunity for sharing the Gospel with the poor and needy of the villages. Often this is a time of evangelical outreach by visiting in the community, encouraging neighbors through song and prayer, and hopefully inspiring a desire to become involved with the local church. Just going to the home of a shut-in is such a blessing to the Haitians and to the work teams.
Asile Dorcas is a Haitian nursing home where the fellowship of singing and prayer is often shared. The residents of the home have been blessed by the group visits, and in turn have provided innumerable blessings to their visitors. Visits to Asile Dorcas are a highlight of the trip to Haiti for many work team members.
This spiritual impact on visiting Apostolic teams and groups is another dimension of the mission work. Many unconverted friends that were touched by their experiences in Haiti have since repented and given their lives to the Lord. Countless brothers and sisters have shared how their trips to Haiti have impacted them, providing tremendous blessing and a time of spiritual growth. Working side by side with the Haitian people for the glory of God has continued to be a blessing. Meeting faithful Christians, who often possess so little of material things, and witnessing their wholehearted worship and praise to our God can be quite a contrast to our North American world. Traveling to Haiti, so geographically close and yet so far removed from our culture and way of life, can often change the way we view our whole purpose here on earth.
The Fairbury and Forrest, Illinois churches have worked with the Lifeline project which aids the Bethel Church since 1983. The Bethel Church of God Mission has 125 congregations across the island of Haiti including three congregations in the Dominican Republic and 48 elementary schools. The work includes an orphanage, water aid, clinic, pharmacy, agriculture, sewing classes, construction teams, and feeding and children’s programs.
On Feb.1-3 2008, Elder bro. Wayne Banwart (Champaign)and ministering bros. Marvin Dotterer (Forrest), Bob Beebe (South Bend), and Dennis Rassi (Fairbury) conducted a Pastoral training program for Lifeline in La Higuera, Dominican Republic. This training program was requested by Bethel Church leaders as they became familiar with the doctrines of the Apostolic Christian Church. Topics covered during the Pastoral training program were:
- The qualifications and roles of the ministers and elders
- Christian ethics
- Dealing with trials in life
- Brotherly unity
- The Christian walk
- Spiritual rebirth
Lifeline chairman Bro. Eldon Steidinger and Bro. Jim Koehl also attended and helped with the program. Eighteen Bethel church Pastors from Haiti and the Dominican were present at the seminar. It was a very blessed uplifting event that was well received by all who where present.
Palm Grove Mission
The work of this Mission was started by Eris Labady in 1978 in response to the needs of the Haitian people in his home area and in Port-au-Prince. The Mission’s focus is spiritual growth through repentance, baptism, and conversion through the planting of churches and raising pastors within the local community to lead.The mission supports the earthly needs of the Haitian people in the communities surrounding their churches by educating children and providing water resources through wells and piped water systems. The majority of the churches and schools are in rural areas, with two in Port-au-Prince. Presently there are 11 Churches and 10 Schools.