A Long-Term Commitment in Haiti

By   •   September 30, 2010

There has been a large cleaning effort in the aftermath of the January earthquake in Haiti, but there is still more work to do, tons of cement to be removed, and limited to no equipment. Keith Stiles, RRT Director of Deployments, recalls one particular scene that stands out to him.

“When we were doing some training sessions we were going out into the country. Our vehicles would be the only ones in the church parking lot. Here in America, we talk about building out and expanding our churches. In Haiti, the people who go to church are the ones who can walk there.”

The RRT is still working with Samaritan’s Purse in international disaster relief in Haiti, where chaplains are encouraging Samaritan’s Purse staff as well as Haitian staff. The work is grueling and there is a major need for spiritual care. “They go out with work teams whether they are building shelters or water facilities, ministering to Haitians who lost everything, or going with the Samaritan’s Purse medical team to hospitals and clinics to pray with those suffering physically,” said Stiles. “In addition to all of these ways of ministry, we have begun pastor training.”

This pastor training will equip pastors and church leadership in Haiti to continue the ministry. The initial training began earlier this year. “I was down in Haiti back in April to do initial training. I went to five different locations throughout the country. The training was so successful, that the demand increased. Jack Munday, RRT Director and Mike Beresford, RRT Managing Director, have been back several times to train more pastors. Now, we are building a network of pastors to train other churches,” explains Stiles.

A Message of Hope and Comfort

“We are really getting away from predominant message that says, ‘The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Lord,'” says Stiles. Although this message from the book of Job is true, Stiles says that many of the Haitians believe they deserved the earthquake disaster, and that they need to dwell on a more comforting message.

“We’re taking the same message to them that we take into any disaster: We don’t know why this happened, but we will tell you what we do know – that God gave his Son so we can live. God loves you, cares about your situation, and wants to walk with you through this.”

The contagious spirit of ministry is spreading among lay leaders as well as pastors. “A group of young men who are active in their churches began going to the tent cities as soon a they were being erected, two to four weeks after the earthquake. They were taking an outreach message to the camps, and had a projector set up with screen. People would flock there,” remembered Stiles.

“This led to people coming to the Lord in big numbers. These conversions led to hunger, which led to Bible studies, which led to children’s ministry. We think this is how the pastor training will work throughout country.”

A Long-Term Commitment in Haiti

Now that the ministry momentum is up in Haiti, it shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. Samaritan’s Purse is working toward Operation Christmas Child (December), which will be followed by a Franklin Graham Festival in January 2011. My Hope World Evangelism Through Television project is planned for 2011. “My Hope was working on this before the earthquake, but had to postpone,” explained Stiles.

“Now, we have a segue from phase to phase, and a long term commitment to ministry in Haiti.”

Haiti needs this long-term commitment and message of hope to keep the people looking ahead – and looking to Jesus.

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  1. Yvette (from Paris/ France) says:

    Dears Billy and Franklin Graham; I just wanted you to know I'm praying for you this morning. I am fasting for personal prayers, and I am happy to pray for you, so your work continues in Haiti. I am praying for the work going on right now in Malawi and all over the world. I ask God to open the sky for you and pour a rain of graces, benedictions and miracles upon you and people who will listen the message of Jesus. God bless you abundantly today and always. Amen!

  2. Erserline says:

    I praise God for your RRT still committed to help build hope in Haiti!!! I'm continuing to lift all of you up in prayer and financially. I'm believing God to be able to take a leave of absence from my employment to spend some time in the Haiti area shortly after the first of the year… Who would be my contact in your missions department??? May God continue to bless and keep you!!!! In Jesus Name!

  3. sue says:

    When I visited Haiti (before the earthquake), I was astounded at the abject and utter poverty of the people, but more than that, the gentleness, love and support they offered each other. This is an opportunity to show them that they are not alone and we can offer them the same…

  4. Sharron says:

    I don't know of any other program, religious or secular, who does more for every kind of disaster and need.I'm honored to say that I contribute my tithe to Samaitans Purse. I have no fear or doubt that my tithe is going to help others.It was a Billy Graham crusade in the 60's that led me to accept Jesus as my Lord and savior.

  5. Ginger and Denny says:

    Praying for the teams as they continue to be faithful and sharing the love of Jesus. Praying for the pastors that are being trained, that they will be used in a mighty way…

  6. emmanuel says:

    I just wish to be part of the team, may GOD BLESS YOUR GOOD WORK