15 Nov Salt, Water, and Orphans 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. I wrote previously about some of the Haitian churches we visited. Here are a few other notes about the visit.
The Salt Basin Project is going well, with six basins now dug. These basins take about five years to reach full productivity and peak at 15 years. About one ton of salt is in storage currently waiting for prices to increase (seasonal changes).
Twenty people from the nearby community of Jubilee have full or seasonal employment. This is significant, as the community of Jubilee is among the poorest we have encountered in Haiti. The people rummage through garbage that is dumped nearby, and Voodoo is prevalent throughout the community.
Donna discussed a number of opportunities for volunteers and projects with Pastor Oliam Richard, who oversees our churches in Haiti. They included:
- Medical teams. There is no problem with bringing in medications and supplies.
- The need for continued sponsorship of school students through CH Global, a Canada-based organization with which we partner in Haiti.
- The sponsorship of UB pastors who would like to study at approved ministry institutes.
- Teams to teach English as a Second Language.
Loving Shepherd is a ministry in which Haitian orphans are matched with loving, Christian parents who will raise them as their own along with other children, whether biological or adopted. The director of Loving Shepherd (Rick Schwartz) is a member of Emmanuel Community UB church in Fort Wayne, Ind. Kent Kotesky, the executive pastor at Emmanuel, would like to introduce some United Brethren pastors to their ministry in La Cayes. He has asked if I would accompany them and introduce the same group to our United Brethren in Haiti.
I discussed this with Pastor Richard, and he was quite interested and willing to have the group come. He suggested that Haitian churches might have orphans who need to be connected with Loving Shepherd, or parents willing to open their homes to children.
We met with Pastor Harold of Gamaliel Seminary–a Saturday only training for pastors and lay leaders. He has connections with the UB church in Delmas 33 and was hopeful to secure some funding from Global Ministries. We told him we would fund UB students on a project level if he could provide a doctrinal statement, an outline of the course of study, and an adequate profile of each student. The following day we received the first two items.
About an hour beyond Canaan we had lunch at a beach resort. It was a refreshing break and much appreciated, but the purpose was to introduce us to the wonderful facilities Haiti has to offer to tourists. We were encouraged to tell our friends about it.