It was a good opportunity to highlight some of the local programs and ministries for visiting partners and we delighted in doing so. Several had come from the U.S. and there were even a few folk from Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago who were keen to meet and dialogue with local partners and supporters during the 2014 Consultation in Haiti.
Constituency Relationships in Indianapolis and former Global Ministries missionary with his wife, Dawn, to South Africa and Mozambique, brought the morning's message at the Carrefour church. Jon shared a good word and we told him we would gladly travel to hear him preach at any church. Interestingly enough, this particular congregation was also celebrating the National Day of Children and and the young ones treated all of us to special songs, Scripture recitations, and a well-acted skit that was both humorous and meaningful.
Monday was a meeting day and we were privileged to hear from Gerard Granado, General Secretary of the Caribbean Conference of Churches (http://www.ccc-caribe.org). This wise and gentle man emphasized the need for all to "support Haiti in its quest for authentic development..." which he said, "...involves a developmental and not a welfare approach to Haiti."
Mr. Granado, a Roman Catholic layman, also invited those pastors and bishops who were present to remember the importance of the church in Haiti by encouraging them to "...get the churches together to discuss challenges to the people of this nation" (a profound charge given the history of tension between Protestant and Catholic churches in
Haiti). He reminded the clergy of their role as leaders by saying, "Somehow, somebody has to take the first step to initiate dialogue between churches...you do not need another earthquake to unite the people of Haiti...the unity of the Haitian people will depend on the unity of the people of God in Haiti."
There was also a time set aside for visits to local ministries and programs and the one that Tim and I took special pleasure in sharing was a trip to see eleven young adults who live and work in Croix des Bouquets. We had previously helped these college-age young people create a micro-savings group after they had attended a CONASPEH-hosted seminar on micro-savings and micro-enterprise. Their goal
is to start a hardware store in their community and to use the proceeds to fund their university tuition. In the meantime, as they continue to seek out ways to source income and to save, they are using one of CONASPEH's block-making machines to make compressed cement blocks and selling them to local contractors. Their tireless energy and excitement after some 1 1/2 years is a source of joy to us and we firmly believe they will realize their dream!
We understand the importance of the "business side" of such gatherings and, indeed, the need for crucial planning for future endeavors is a primary purpose for our coming together. At the same time we felt the power of "face-to-face" times of fellowship
which helped to create better knowledge about and a genuine understanding of who we are as people called to this ministry in Haiti. Surely these exchanges are the building blocks for the foundation that will allow us to stand alongside one another in times of challenge and in times of success. We are truly a blessed people to have been chosen for such a task.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29: 11