05 Nov Glimpses of Various UB Churches in Haiti
Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries
On August 29 – September 2, I visited Haiti with Global Ministries associate director Donna Hollopeter and Kyle Bushre, pastor of Outreach and Missions at King Street UB church in Chambersburg, Pa. We visited a number of our churches in Haiti. Here are some notes and observations about those churches.
The Gonaives church has been able to purchase land with help from Canada and Global Ministries. The church laid footings, foundations and floor, and Canada blocked up the first story. Now they would like to lay the second floor to close in the structure and move from the current church location, which they rent. Services are running 300 in attendance. There are 100 students in the school they host.
The Archaie church, under the leadership of Pastor Jacques Marcion, has an attendance of 200 and a schol of 100 meeting in a rented space. They are working to raise the $16,000 needed to buy a property near the coastal highway.
We traveled to Canaan, which is a resettlement location for those who lost their homes in the earthquake. Once a vast and rocky hillside, it now is home to more than 20,000 families. Here we visited a new church plant, led by Pastor Wilber (also the pastor of Croix du Bouquet), and saw the “tent” church attended by more than 100 and the footings they have already laid for a school. A water filtration project located there is the result of a micro-loan through CH Global using UB funding.
We visited two churches in Cite Soliel. The earthquake heavily damaged both churches in this area, and both needed to be rebuilt.
First we visited with Cite Soliel #1. Pastor Baptistin is still working to obtain land title to the original property and two adjacent properties they have purchased. So far no reconstruction has taken place, and the building consists of nothing more than a tarp suspended between two neighboring walls. They currently have 150 in attendance and hope to expand their school program. Pastor Richard is going to look into the inability of the pastor to gain access to the mayor’s office.
We then visited Cite Soliel #2, led by Pastor Supreme. There the proper documentation was obtained and the church was able to not only rebuild, but to also expand their facilities.
We visited with the Sibert UB church led by Pastor Israel. The church has about 60 members and some 100 children in school. Many of the children in this school are sponsored, and we were able to meet with one member who had benefitted from a micro-loan in order to buy a sewing machine. We have 33 micro-loan projects in Haiti through CH Global. According to Elsa Hilaire, to date we have 100% return on all loan payments even at 7% interest.
There is still discussion taking place about opening a bread-baking operation at Sibert, but we were told more research is needed to assure there would be enough demand.
Jerusalem UB (Canaan) is led by Pastor Adrienne. Church members purchased land, started a church 2 years ago that meets in a tent, and purchased materials for a permanent structure–all without outside funding. Sixty-five currently attend, and a school is being started this year. We asked them how we might pray for their ministry. They asked us to pray for their impact on their community, employment, and physical strength. They made no mention of any need for funds.
On Sunday morning, I spoke at Delmas 33 on the parable of the sower from Mark 4:3-9. The church consists of a more urban demographic than many of the other churches in Haiti. The building can hold approximately 500, and the bottom floor was fairly full on Sunday morning. This is also the location of the national assembly which took place recently for the second year in a row.