Seven years. Seven years since the devastating earthquake hit Haiti, taking more than 300,000 lives and changing the landscape of the country forever. Sometimes it’s hard to believe seven years have passed. While the physical landscape changed with thousands of homes destroyed, roads cracked and broken and cities of tents appeared overnight, the landscape of the church began to change even more dramatically. God had a plan.
When ReachGlobal Crisis Response arrived on the scene after the 2010 earthquake they asked Haitian church leaders what the Haitian church looked like, and their answer was astonishing: “It looks like an American church in Haiti.” Thus began a relationship with Haitian church leaders that has been edifying to the local church and ReachGlobal, but most importantly to God. The Haiti Consortium was formed with a vision to see an indigenous, disciplemaking, and multiplying church within walking distance of every Haitian, which demonstrates and engages in proclaiming the transforming power of the gospel.
Because of this desire to see churches multiplied throughout Haiti, church leaders have been trained in various parts of the country. Astrit and Evaldo, Brazilian Free Church missionaries, wanted to see multiplication of the church in Les Cayes, a town in the southwest corner of Haiti. In July of 2015 they began a relationship with a group of pastors from Port Salut, near Les Cayes. Little did they know that God had far bigger plans for this relationship than just Gospel training for the pastors.
Then came Hurricane Matthew.
How could anyone know this hurricane would make landfall where God already began such a great work? As soon as roads were passable, members of the ReachGlobal team headed down to Les Cayes, but they were not prepared for what they saw. Devastation beyond imagination. Entire waterfront communities were gone. Roofs were blown off, houses were washed out to sea and the coconut, mango and breadfruit trees, by which locals made their living, were laid flat by the ferocious winds. The mission field that was created following the crisis was laid out before the ReachGlobal team and they knew that God had begun this work far before any of them ever thought of Les Cayes, Haiti.
Psalm 10:14 “But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.”
The local church desired to meet the physical needs of their congregants and of the community in order to build relationships, and then meet the spiritual and emotional needs. The ReachGlobal team came alongside of this church to aid in this process, focusing first on roof repairs, and soon to be engaging in trauma care, kids discipleship and family gardens for food sustainability.
Roof repairs started with the church building itself, because it was being used as a shelter in the days following the hurricane. The church leaders then began identifying those in the community who needed housing help. They first chose the home of a church deacon, who has an ongoing ministry to people who are oppressed by evil spirits. Then, six more families were given roofs, including a small family of four children.
These children had been orphaned before the Hurricane. The oldest is a boy named Davidson who is 20, his sister Davidlyn, 17, another sister named Davidlan,15, and the fourth sibling, six-year old Christella, who suffers from a disability. They are part of the church and active in the youth group. Their aunt, their deceased mother’s sister, has been appointed their caretaker. Her home is a thatched hut and the kids were staying in a tent.
The Aunt’s Home
Two short-term teams, from Hope Community Church, in Olympia, Washington, and Grace Evangelical Free Church, from Viroqua, Wisconsin, had the blessing of beginning to rebuild the home for the orphans. Materials are scarce so they used what they had to build the roof structure and salvaged what they could from the home that was destroyed. Tin for the roof was provided by the generous donations of many of you! Immediately following the storm a fund was set up to replace roofs and homes and make a gospel impact for those impacted by Hurricane Matthew. To date $136,611.oo as been been donated of the goal of $300,000.00. Consider a gift to help other families like this return home.
One of the most encouraging parts of this story is the hard work these kids exerted right alongside of the ReachGlobal Teams each day after they returned from school and helping out at the church. The local church already had a discipling relationship with these children prior to the storm.
Salvaging stones for the walls
Digging trenches for the walls
Framing and roofing
The roof almost complete
Looking back over the last seven years, it’s easy to see God’s plan for this little family in Les Cayes, Haiti. He knew when the earthquake hit that ReachGlobal would be on the ground within days building relationships. He knew out of those relationships that the Haiti Consortium would be formed and His Word would begin it’s transformational power throughout Haiti. He knew that Astrit and Evaldo would follow His call to train this growing church in Les Cayes so that when Hurricane Matthew hit, there would already be a relationship formed and work could begin immediately to restore the local church and bring the love of Christ to their community. And He knew that this orphaned family would see the love of Christ that transcends all and that His Name would be glorified.
Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow.
Short term teams will be needed in Haiti for the foreseeable future. If you would like to send a short term team to Haiti to help share the love of Christ to those in need following Hurricane Matthew, please contact us.