Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Expand- To spread out, unfold, or develop.

Kyrk and Deborah Baker have been serving in Haiti for 13 years.  In this amount of time they have grown in their love for the people and developed an understanding of the culture.  Working with BHM they have met and served with many pastors throughout Haiti.  5 years ago they traveled to the Northwest for the first time and visited a town called Atrel.  It did not take long after seeing Atrel that the Lord began to plant in their hearts a desire to be a part of His work in the northwest. "When we were in Atrel I instantly loved the area and the people.  When I first moved to Haiti to serve I desired to be in a place like Atrel.  Since seeing and knowing the needs in Atrel I know the Lord has placed it in my heart to live there," said Deborah.

The northwest is one of the country's poorest areas.  It is a 6 hour drive from the mission in a good vehicle with no traffic issues or driving interruptions. This very long drive is only 160 miles from the mission.  The majority of the ride to Atrel consists of rocky roads with a great amount of bumping and head jarring.  Pastors and leaders in the northwest have to make the difficult trip to Fermathe on a regular basis to receive training and be a part of the conferences offered by BHM.  In the long range plan of BHM we have desired to see training centers develop throughout Haiti.  The work being done in Atrel is hopefully the first of many training centers that will be developed throughout Haiti.  Kyrk and Deborah along with BHM desire to see a training center built in the northwest to make it easier for Pastors and leaders to receive training and better serve their district.

The church in the northwest is growing steadily and Christian leaders are hungry for knowledge.  Kyrk and Deborah desire to move to Atrel and begin a training center.  This center would expand the work BHM is doing to strengthen the church of Haiti.  Last week Kyrk along with others from BHM traveled to Atrel to talk with Pastor Fritz Metayer and take some up to date pictures of the area.
Pastor Fritz oversees 16 churches around the district of Atrel.  Of these 16 churches every church except for 1 has a school connected with it.  We have been sharing with Pastor Fritz about the desire to start a training center in Atrel.  When he was first presented with the idea of a training center being established in Atrel he said, "It is exciting to see God open the door for a training center in the area.  I am so happy to be a pastor, it is a pleasure to be used by God."

Pastor Fritz attended the Summer Bible Institute in Fermathe for 3 years.  When asked if it was difficult to travel to Fermathe he said it was not difficult.  It is amazing to see the servants heart of Pastor Fritz and others in the northwest.  They do not complain about the journey for training but we know if we could expand it would open the door for so many more to receive training.  Kyrk and Pastor Fritz had a great time discussing the needs in the area and working to develop a plan to meet those needs
Kryk and Deborah and their family hope to move to Atrel full time by November 2012.  There is a large amount of work to be done in order to prepare in this amount of time.  BHM owns property in Atrel for building a training center.  Currently Kyrk and Deborah are working through the details of purchasing land behind the property of the training center to begin building their home.
Posts have been placed along the property BHM owns in Atrel for future building projects.  In the next few months we hope to have more of a barrier in place to establish the ownership of this property.  The location of the training center and Kyrk and Deborah's home will be on a hill looking down into the town of Atrel.  It will be close to the school and church of Atrel.  Below: Atrel Church
Below: Atrel school, located on the same property as the church.
Thursday Kyrk and Deborah and the kids will be traveling to visit family in Canada and the U.S. for the holiday season.  Pray for safe travel and a time of rest.  While they are away they will have the opportunity to share with others about BHM's desire to expand and their upcoming move.  We trust the Lord's guidance and timing in this upcoming year as the details for expansion are developed.  We ask you to prayerfully consider how you can be a part of this spreading out and developing of BHM as well.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Wedding Bells are Ringing!

Invitations have been made, the venue has been selected, the order of the ceremony has been decided, and now the countdown has begun for the wedding day!  This may be the typical order of wedding preparation for a majority of weddings in the U.S.  However, it is not the norm for Pastor Smith as he prepares to perform a wedding ceremony for 91 couples!  Yes, you read that correctly.
December 30, in the area of Muraille Lacee, 91 couples will stand before their family and friends and enter a covenant marriage before the Lord. They will join their lives as one and become husband and wife.  One wedding ceremony for 91 couples is not your typical idea of a wedding.  It quite unique for the town of Muraille Lacee as well.

Over the years there has been a lack of good evangelical witness in the area of Muraille Lacee.  There are currently no evangelical pastors or churches in the area.  The area of Muraille Lacee is in need of the Gospel.  Due to a lack of exposure to the truth's of Scripture and an active relationship with Jesus Christ there is not a strong moral presence in the community. Couples who live together outside of a marriage relationship has become a way of life.

Many of the young women in Muraille Lacee have babies before they are 18.  Pastor Smith and members from the Conservative Baptist Church of Williamson have begun traveling to Muraille Lacee to do evangelization.  CBCW made their first evangelistic voyage into the community on August 2 of this year.  Since August they have made 2 more trips to Muraille Lacee and will be returning in December.  Pastor Jean Claude Smith and the members of CBCW are burdened for the people of Muraille Lacee and go through great lengths to share the Gospel in that area.

In order to arrive in Muraille Lacee they must drive for several hours.  After the drive they must walk for 8 hours on a path that no car or motorcycle is capable of traveling.  Once arriving in Muraille Lacee the people travel house to house sharing about Christ.  They also host church services, without a church building.  Lay preachers travel to the area on a regular basis to preach and serve the Lord's Supper.  Pastor Smith and several people from Petionville Church and Williamson Church will be making the long journey to Muraille Lacee for this incredible wedding ceremony!

A wedding of this size will definitely attract the attention of everyone in Muraille Lacee as well as the surrounding areas.  Pastor Smith is hopeful that this wedding will be a tremendous opportunity for a positive testimony to the community to begin following moral principles.  A public commitment before the Lord and family and friends has the power to change an entire town.  It will truly be a day to remember.  There are many things that still need to be done for a wedding of this grandeur.

A Group Effort
Pastor Smith is in need of some extra funds for a variety of wedding expenses.  The families, who will be getting married on December 30, have a very difficult time collecting any funds for their wedding expenses.  We would like to invite you to come alongside BHM and help us assist with this opportunity for a complete and total heart change in the community of Muraille Lacee.  We hope to have representatives from BHM in attendance at the wedding.  We look forward to being able to share with you at the first of the year many wonderful updates from this HUGE wedding.

If you would be interested in contributing to the wedding of the year please visit our website at www.bhm.org.  Once you are at the website click, "Donate Now" located in the righthand column.  Write, "Wedding" in the ministry designation reference box and then continue.  After you have made your contribution if you have any questions or any suggestions for making this weeding a success please e-mail bhmhaiti@bhm.org.  We hope to keep you updated over the next few weeks about the progress of this incredible wedding.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Overseas Communication

What a wonderful thing is the mail, capable of conveying across continents a warm human handclasp. ~Author Unknown

The mail enables communication down the road, across the country, and even around the world. The child sponsorship program recognizes the importance of conveying a warm handclasp and even a big bear hug across the seas!  This is why sending "snail mail" from the sponsored child to the sponsor and vice versa is so important.

Darlene Winn, a missionary serving in the BHM child sponsorship office said, "Sending letters between the child and sponsor allows the child to become a real person to the sponsor as well as the sponsor to the child.  The child is encouraged and knows someone is interested in their education, and cares about them and their family.  The correspondence between the two reminds the sponsor to continue to give but more importantly encourages the child to stay in school because they know someone cares."

The communication allows the child to know that not only does someone care about their future but they care about their today as well.  The child sponsorship office at BHM provides a variety of ways for sponsors to send their hugs across the ocean.

"We send out reminders to the sponsors about birthdays, Christmas cards, and we provide the sponsors with a progress report from the child in the spring so they can know how to congratulate or encourage their child." said Darlene.

Sponsors are encouraged to write letters and send small gifts that can fit in envelops to their children.  When a child receives a special surprise from their sponsor they are encouraged to write their sponsor as well as draw a picture for them.

Below, a little girl was working hard on a thank you letter. 
Her mother sat off to the side excited about the gifts her child received and thankful for this special connection with their new friends.  The impact of sponsoring a child not only influences the child but also affects the entire family.  

If you are currently sponsoring a child from BHM we would love to hear from you.  Let us know your favorite thing about sponsoring a child.  It is truly a blessing to see the impact on these children because of the generous donations.  For more information on the child sponsorship program please visit our website at www.bhm.org.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Assisting with Effective Leadership

In order to be an effective leader it is critical to be trained effectively.  The heartbeat of Baptist Haiti Mission is to come alongside the leaders of Haiti and assist them with the things they need to train and instruct others with a Biblical Worldview.  Last week ABWE (Association of Baptists for World Evangelism) came to Haiti and did this very thing.  They spent one week teaching lay preachers.  They taught them the importance of teaching the entire Gospel.  They enabled them to see how the whole Bible points to Christ and the redemptive story.  The idea for a conference of this nature did not simply develop over night.

Jim Cook and Gill Thomas who work for ABWE, traveled to Haiti shortly after the earthquake in 2010.  It was then he saw the incredible need for a Gospel centered curriculum for the churches of Haiti.  ABWE has produced curriculum for several other countries and were certain they could produce the same curriculum for Haiti.  Through a series of God orchestrated events and connections the curriculum was translated into Haitian Creole and over 70 lay preachers traveled to Baptist Haiti Mission last Tuesday – Friday to be exposed to this new curriculum.

Gill and Denise Thomas, and Carl Sexton missionaries of ABWE taught the classes.  There was a great deal of information to cover in a short period of time.  However, it was the heart of the instructors to ensure they did not simply provide the participants with the material, but also equipped them to teach the material.

“We would provide and teach the materials to the lay preachers.  We would then split them into groups so they could teach the material to one another.  This allowed us to know if they were truly understanding the material or simply giving us courtesy smiles,” said Denise.
Along with providing Gospel centered curriculum in Haitian Creole for the lay preachers, they also taught about the importance of effective evangelism.  The model they used for this was “Tilling, Planting, and Reaping”.  When sharing about Christ it is important to find out the core beliefs of the person to which you are speaking.  Every person is not at the same place and it is important to realize this.  The lay preachers were again split into groups and encouraged to illustrate this view of evangelism.  Similar to farming, every stage of sharing Christ with someone is important.  Below you will see a simple picture of this life changing concept.
Some of the lay preachers traveled for two full days to arrive for the conference.  After their time at the conference the overall consensus was that it was worth the journey.  There was a great combination of fun and learning that took place over the past week.  Pray for the pastors as they return to their home churches eager to share this new material.  Also, pray for us this week as we are having Sunday School Teachers travel to BHM to be trained in this curriculum as well.  We are excited to see all the Lord has in store, as we seek to effectively equip those who have the power to influence Haiti through the power of the Gospel.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Building, One Block at a Time

“DUCK!”  This word has become quite common for the team from Fellowship Bible Church in New Jersey who are serving alongside BHM this week.  Each morning the 15 member team composed of a variety of ages and backgrounds, pile into the back of one of BHM’s blue trucks. They prepare for a very bumpy 35 minute ride with a lot of incoming tree limbs.  Their final destination is the home of Yonel and Philomene Britus.

This special team has traveled from the U.S. to work alongside BHM and help build a home for the Britus family.  The Britus family lost their entire home in the earthquake in January 2010.  Since then they have been living down the mountain side in a one room house built with sheet metal and wooden beams.  The family has 7 children ranging in age from 17 years to 5 months.  Yonel Britus knew Baptist Haiti Mission was working to build houses for those who had lost their homes in the earthquake.  He informed BHM of his need for his family.  With the help of this team and the workers at BHM the home for the Britus family is well under way.
Ryan, 12 years old, passed cement blocks out of the truck for the team to carry.  They carried the blocks down a very steep, windy, and rocky trail to the foundation of the house.  This is Ryans first time in Haiti.  He came with his dad.  His dad served with BHM last year to build a home for another family.  The team got straight to work as soon as they arrived at the house.

Some of the team remained at the top of the hill sifting through dirt and rock to get sand to use for building the house.  This task was quite time consuming.  However, every little sift made a difference and contributed to the structure of the house.
Down the trail the remainder of the team worked tirelessly to build this two room home for the family.
Of course it would be no good to have all work and no play.  In the afternoon several children came out and were eager to play with the team.  There were many cheers during a game of “Sheep, Sheep, Chicken.”  The ladies who came with the team were able to spend time with Madam Britus and take turns holding her youngest son Ronald.
Madam Britus said she is so happy they are getting this house!  She is excited to have security for her family every night.  She said when it is finished she will definitely invite her friends to come and see this new gift.  The house should be complete on Wednesday afternoon!  Pray for the team as they continue to work hard on this special home.  Pray they will serve the Lord both in word and in deed during their time out building.  Pray for the Britus family.  Pray they will grow in their love and understanding of the Lord. 

If you are interested in being a part of a construction team with BHM contact us by visiting our website, www.bhm.org, for more information.