Author: Pastor Jerry Park
Haiti continues to struggle from the aftershocks of a government corruption scandal where $2 billion went missing as well as the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. The lockdowns affected Haiti just as it did every other country in the world, but due to Haiti’s much greater poverty levels and lack of governmental resources and poor infrastructure, the lockdown effects have been more severe for the average Haitian. School, business and government shutdowns crippled everyone.
Our WCF Haiti ESL/Computer Life Center in Port-au-Prince also had to shut down for many months. We implemented a remote learning system using Google Classrooms and pre-recorded lessons. However, most of our students lacked computers or internet access so this was of limited help. Instead, we did a COVID-19 Food and Hygiene care package for our students to do our part to help in a practical way.
In August, the COVID-19 cases were relatively minimal so schools and businesses were allowed to re-open. We were finally able to re-open the Life Center and we quickly restarted our classes. We had to make many adjustments, especially with new social distancing rules, limiting the size of the classes and other procedures, but we currently have 83 students back in class and a growing waiting list. In addition, our original leaders, Nicolas and Carina, have had to move on due to Nicolas’ work commitments. They did a tremendous job in getting the Life Center started and we are very grateful to them for their work and dedication. We wish them well. Stephanie, Elsie’s daughter, who originally started as our advanced English teacher, has now become the new leader of the Life Center.
We have expanded our weekly Character/Leadership Classes, which include topics such as ‘humility’ and ‘showing integrity’ in a life and business context, but from a biblical worldview. We have a BAM (Business As Missions) team here in the USA that prerecords lessons and facilitates live discussions with our students in Haiti. We also have a Conversation Club for our ESL classes which also feature volunteers from the USA to help the students practice English.
- Please continue to pray for the continued success and blessing of the Life Center programs for the people
Sister Bonite’s ministry had a recent scare when it seemed that one of her church members, a young man named Jeff, was kidnapped along with others in the community. Jeff had been led to the Lord by one of our short-term team members on a previous mission trip and he’s been a faithful member of the church since then. This situation was very unnerving for Sister Bonite and the ministry since this was the first time she’s heard of kidnapping in Jacmel itself. However, it turned out not to be Jeff, but a relative of his and thankfully, they were released unharmed.
The ministry continues to meet for worship services and her children’s food program restarted. Initially, they tried to do social distancing, but the relatively low outbreak and the desperate hunger situation there has meant they haven’t been able to enforce it. More than 100 children are being fed daily and many more are in need.
In addition, the ministry sponsors 35 children and young adults for school and University. This had been on hold due to all the school shutdowns, but has restarted in August. Most of the families had no ability to do any kind of remote learning, so this has been a lost year for most students, unfortunately.
- Please pray for the health, safety and provision for all the church members
- Please pray for Sister Bonite’s health
- Please pray for the Lord to raise up new leaders with a heart for the Lord
Praise Report: The ministry celebrated their 24 year anniversary recently and the young people put on an anniversary service that was a blessing. It was more than 19 years ago when I first visited the ministry – literally thousands of children and youth have been saved, discipled, fed, had their education needs taken care of, and so much more over these many years. Now, many of those children are grown with children of their own. Stephanie was just a few years old – and now she’s taken on the leadership of the Life Center and leads a young lady’s prayer group at the ministry. The Lord has been faithful.
- Please pray for Sister Elsie – her arm and hand have been in severe pain and she’s been seeing doctors to determine the best treatment plan.
A Sanctuary celebrated its 15th-anniversary last month. I remember when I flew out to Guyana to share the keynote speech at the opening and meeting the first group of children for the first time. As I got to know the children, hear their stories and then spend time with them, I realized what a daunting and frankly impossible task this ministry was facing – but I also reminded myself that nothing is impossible for the Lord. The Lord certainly raised up the right people in Glennis and Romeo to be the godly parents that these children needed.
There was one young boy in particular – he had such behavioral issues that I thought to myself that he needs a team just for him! I remember another bright young man – he never smiled and looked so downcast all the time. I asked him if I could take a picture of him so that I could remember to pray for him. He looked so depressed in the picture. Over the years, he began to brighten up. Many years later, after ‘graduating’ from the ministry and finding his way in the world, he came back to visit and I hadn’t seen him in years. He was smiling and talking to Glennis – I couldn’t believe it was the same young man. I wept that night when I was telling the team about the difference the Lord made in his life through the ministry.
After at least a hundred children have spent time at the home – it’s amazing to think about the impact the ministry has had on so many ‘hopeless’ cases. Of course, life is still very hard and not everyone has a ‘feel-good ending’ story, but they were given the Gospel and a chance in life thanks to this ministry. Ministry goes on – A Sanctuary currently has 9 children now, ranging from 8 to 17 years old. The 8-year-old is actually presumed to be 8 because the government has no birth certificate or record for this child. The ministry lost a key school teacher recently so this is a point of prayer. In addition, they’ve been without a cook since the previous sister that did the cooking passed away recently.
- Please pray for a great school teacher to come and serve the children
- Please pray for other personnel needs such as a cook
- Please also pray for a security fence to be completed around the buildings – it will cost about $10,000 to complete