I have been involved in foreign missions since I first started in vocational Christian ministry. At first I just supported other missionaries and passed on their stories to inspire those I served in the local church. In 2001, I visited China and over the next few years visited Puerto Rico and Jamaica. However, I really found my place in missions when I visited Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. As I flew home from Port Au Prince, Haiti in April of 2010, I felt like I was leaving home, even as I flew home to my family. I had never experienced this emotional attachment to another country and people group. The feeling has only grown stronger on each visit I have made to this island nation. I love the country and its beauty, a rugged and piercing beauty to me. More than that I love the people of Haiti. They are fiercely independent; quick to smile and laugh; and there humor will capture your heart.
In September of 2016, I was given an awesome opportunity: to work with and write for International Christian Development Missions (www.icdm.us). This group, founded by a friend of mine from Asbury Theological Seminary, Yvan Pierre, serves the community of Bayonnais, Haiti with a school, a local church, a pure water project, a farm, and other community development projects. Now they are in the process of building a clinic to serve the entire community. ICDM also trains pastors and Christian leaders through a system of Portable Bible Schools, a School of Evangelism that trains leaders to start new churches, and ongoing training through correspondence courses and virtual education initiatives.
This opportunity and recent work has led me to begin working toward becoming a full time missionary to Haiti where I hope to work in training pastors and leaders, developing new programs to educate, equip, and empower Haitian communities, and get to know more and more of the wonderful people of Haiti. In this blog I will be telling the stories of people like Yvan Pierre, his workers in Haiti, and the children, teens, and adults I meet on every trip! To start the process, please take a look at the picture posted with this entry. This is a picture of me and Gina Faustin, a 12 year old girl I met this past January. She worked very hard to avoid my camera as I sought to take a picture of her, but I finally talked her into letting me do a selfie of her and I. I promised I would make her famous with this picture. So feel free to copy and repost the picture and Gina’s story on any social media you use. Gina lives in Gonaives, Haiti with her three brothers and mom. She speaks French, Kreyol, and English and is both bright and funny! I am proud to call her one of my dear friends.
Look for more information about plans and missions I will be doing in Haiti in my future posts. If you are interested in visiting Haiti, please let me know and I can set up a plan to allow you to see the work going on and meet some of the wonderful people I have encountered in this country!