Travelogue: Haiti January 2014

By Pastor Daryl Largis

I just returned from spending a handful of days in Haiti with Mission of Hope, Haiti, who is The Chapel’s strategic partner in that nation. As you may recall, it was almost four years ago from today when a massive earthquake struck that country near their capital city of Port-au-Prince. Still to this day, you can see striking evidence of that terrible event. Although homes have been rebuilt, there are still so many people who have to continue to live in make-shift houses made of sticks and tarps. The millions of people who were displaced because of the earthquake only further exacerbated an already inadequate infrastructure that could not provide the basic necessities of life, as well as those things that help produce a better tomorrow. Therein is the role of MOH (www.mohhaiti.org). They are actively working and making tangible progress in pursuing the goal of transforming the entire nation. Their mission statement, which echoes our own, states that they are following Jesus Christ to bring life transformation to every man, woman, and child in Haiti.

Last year God used MOH to touch thousands of Haitians as well as many partners from the United States and Canada. Their strategy emanates from three core areas: Church Advancement, Education/Nutrition and Mobilization. As to 2013, MOH put in place 32 village champions to drive, lead, and facilitate transformation in eight strategic villages where MOH has influence. This is part of their Church Advancement efforts in working with, in, and through the local church in those places. Furthermore, MOH is giving leadership to the HaitiOne network, which now represents more than 100 organizations and many more churches throughout Haiti under the common mission for wholistic transformation driven by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In their Education/Nutrition efforts, MOH directly operates three schools and feeds 69,000 children each day. They are in the process of expanding their influence in this arena in 2014 to 16 schools which will impact 5,500 children with education, and their eyes are set on feeding 100,000 children per day by 2015. In addition, they have recently added the capacity to package food grown and produced by local farmers; thus, adding jobs, sustainability, and an indigenous economic engine. As to Mobilization, MOH facilitates 5,000 people per year to help meet the needs in the previously mentioned villages. Mobilization efforts are coordinated by the village champions in cooperation with the local church. These activities include short term opportunities for students, construction workers, teachers, doctors, dentists, pastors, and other humanitarians, all under the banner of demonstrating and proclaiming the reality of the gospel in Haiti.

In sum, God is continuing to expand the influence of MOH in Haiti. Their growth and subsequent reach into the very fabric of Haiti is incredible, and something in which we are blessed to play a small part. Obviously, they have needs and there will be opportunity for us as The Chapel, as well as the church of WNY, to help them fulfill the mission God has placed on their hearts, which is consistent to his own. We will be discussing this more in the near future but please be in prayer as to how the body of Christ in WNY can help MOH.  Specifically, there are needs for clean water, Bibles, child sponsorships, and on-going construction related activities. The Chapel has and will continue to send teams to Haiti and to focus our efforts on two villages near the main campus of MOH called Bercy and Leveque. It is likely we will continue to send two teams per year –one in the spring and one in the late summer/early fall. The next team will be heading down there in March along with other individuals from various churches in WNY.