Although often cloaked in deeds and services such as providing beans and rice to the hungry, mamba to the malnourished, literacy to the illiterate, safe water to those inhabiting a land filled with contamination, or veiled within the provisions of much needed medical, dental, and eye care, evangelism is alive and well on the campus of Missions Of Love.
But, beyond practicing faith within the confines of the practical, medical, and humanitarian world, Missions Of Love has also been faithfully partnering with our Haitian brothers and sisters since making its home in Jolivert.
Sometimes, this journey beside our Haitian counterparts has been through the sharing of The Word, sometimes its taken on the form of lending much-needed support to assist the Haitian churches with construction needs, radio broadcasts or even revivals.
But, there’s more good news… Just as iron sharpens iron, (Proverbs 27:17) The Church sharpens the community.
In Haiti, the role of the church goes beyond Sunday morning worship services. Haitian churches are one of the primary forms of social infrastructure. The building itself is typically used as a community center and/or a shelter and often becomes a school run by missionaries or church leaders, thereby impacting the community as whole.
Looking back to when MOL first began, Miz Betty shared the heart of the Mission: “When Missions Of Love first began in Jolivert, Haiti government schools with affordable education wasn’t available in that area. So, we made it our goal to help educate local people so they could find employment and eventually one day help take care of, work for and operate the Mission.”
Thus the MOL journey of sponsoring Haitian students had begun. Soon, through the sponsorship of MOL supporters, area students were being sent to mission-supported primary schools, government higher education schools and even professional schools.
It was during those early days that Dr. Bob and Miz Betty realized that evangelism and education go hand-in-hand. “One of the best places to do evangelism to make a permanent change is in the school and with the kids,” Miz Betty stated. “As the children are being taught in the Christian schools everyday, they also have prayer and learn Bible verses, so they are not only being taught life skills, they are also being set free from the bondage of practices of Voodoo.”
Since making that decision to invest in the education of the young people nearly 25 years ago, the Jolivert area has reaped the benefits of a community which now employs teachers, preachers, businessmen and women, lab techs, nurses and doctors.
Continuing in the quest of uniting evangelism and education, a faith-filled, spirit lead, devoted team of 12 Haitian men known as Solidat (Soldiers for Christ) are the feet-on-the-ground team who have been carrying the gospel message by song, Word and deed into the mountainous regions surrounding the Jolivert area.
As a result, Solidat has helped to lead many to Christ Jesus and have been faithful to provide follow up discipleship that often includes the pooling together of their own resources to provide food, clothing, and shelter to the very poorest of the poor.
Their continued acts of love have fostered the planting of two churches; the first in Belair, where they have also opened a school, and the most recent in Drijon. Both villages are found in the high mountain areas where even most Haitians do not dare to go.
When asked why they would give so much of themselves and their resources to not only plant a church, but to also take on the challenge of starting a school for the children, Solidat member, Wesner Marcelus, one of the teachers at Belair who gets up at 5a.m. every morning and travels three hours by foot to teach every day, quickly responded, “I teach with all my heart so one day a student can be a doctor, or a teacher, or a pastor… So, one day the kids can replace us and do the work we do when they get older.”
Evangelism and Education: Investing in others. Investing in the future. Investing in the Kingdom.