Dec8FriDecember 8, 2017
Fifteen months ago, Hurricane Matthew hit the Caribbean and left it’s wake of damage, particularly in the South-West Departments of Haiti. The devastating storm ruined homes, destroyed crops, annihilated livestock and animals, and increased susceptibility to disease. But to Pastor Lizand, who grew up in Nippes Department, and EMCC’s partner, L’association Eglises Missionnaires (the AEM), the opportunity and resolve to respond was strong.
Entering the region is like stepping back in time.
From the capital city of Port au Prince, the Benoit region is a world away. Entering the region is like stepping back in time. The common sound of “machines” gives way to the trudging of pack animals and people on foot. The landscape is lush. Pastor Lizand and his team, determined to share the blessing of Jesus, are greeted with immense gratitude. Their efforts to help rebuild and re-establish the community is good news to those who have lost almost everything.
EMCC was called on to help with the recovery in the Benoit region, and the call was met with incredible generosity. With Pastor Lizand directing the effort on behalf of the AEM, opportunity became reality. He encouraged the local believers to trust Jesus, and proclaim the love of Jesus to the community. As in other parts of the country, local people are ‘polarized’ by the presence of a nearly completed, Haitian-built church building. Some here have tried to place a curse on the building, others have indicated that “Light has come and fear and darkness are being pushed back.” Jesus and His people are the ones bringing love and casting out fear!
Some here have tried to place a curse on the building...
Canadians have helped, under the direction of Marilyn McIlroy, EMCC Community Health and Development Coordinator, to deliver a “mobile health clinic” in the region. Young Haitian medical professionals who have received scholarship through our Yvonne Martin Memorial fund came and used their skills, providing medical care and blessing to the sick. Now, plans are in the works to establish a permanent health clinic in 2018.
To date, EMCC and AEM are coming to the final phases of home construction in Benoit. The AEM selected families to receive the homes based on greatest need. In late November, our EMCC team met Madame Feke, who will move in to her newly-built home in December. Her gratitude to God and to His people made her eyes sparkle.
The Building Project also helps Haitians develop their professional skills. Our Homes for Haiti campaign began after the earthquake in 2010. Now in its third phase, there has been a strategic aim to increase the Haitian leadership of the project. In fact, all the Phase 3 homes are being built by our Haitian team, under the leadership of Claude Almonor.
The seeds we have sown keep bearing fruit...
This month, with a Haitian/Canadian team putting a roof on the Worship facility, we can see the end of our immediate on-the-ground involvement, but the seeds we have sown keep bearing fruit. Expectancy is rising up in our Haitian partner, with their next-generation leaders taking the lead, trusting Jesus for a future that’s brighter than the past. We, in Canada, can confidently invest in the best resource - God’s people!
EMCC World Partners invites people to discover the Way of Jesus, and in doing so, invites them to create change for those who suffer. It isn’t that we, on our own, are the one who live and proclaim the good news of Jesus, but by investing in Haitian leaders, we are helping them to live lives of blessing in their own country, turning the tide of codependence towards dependence upon the Spirit of God, and giving God all the praise.
Joel Zantingh is the Interim Director of EMCC World Partners
He recently returned from a visit to Benoit, Haiti.