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Navigating Faith: How Haitian Churches Are Responding to the National Crisis

Haitian Crisis 2024

From around the time in 1986 when Baby Doc left Haiti for France, I have been going to Haiti. Over this nearly 40-year span, with a million potholes under my seat and a couple of tons of dust in my lungs, I now observe through tear-dimmed eyes the chaos of Haiti. From the moment one touches down at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport, you are entering another kind of place. The smells, the sounds, and the sights assault your brain, making it hard to take it all in. Port au Prince is home to the majority of Haiti’s 12 million residents. The city is nestled between two mountain ranges on one of the most natural ports in the Caribbean Sea. The city has a network of drainage ditches throughout the city that, during the dry spells, are like the Valley of Hinnom outside the walls of Jerusalem, which burns the refuse of the population night and day. A smokey haze lies heavy over the metropolis. The chatter between Creole and French is constantly heard among people who seem never to sleep. The government began as a revolutionary Republic, as did America. It was a 13-year struggle against France for independence, which came in 1804. The Haitian Constitution came a year later, in 1805. From that time until now, Haiti has been led by military leaders, dictators like Papa Doc Duvalier, and elected presidents like Betrand Aristide. The last elected president Jovenel Moise (Moses), was assassinated in 2021, leaving the government in the hands of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who says he is unable to hold free elections because of the gang control of the country. He is now resigning, and the international community is deliberating the next move for this country previously besieged by hurricanes, earthquakes (250,000 dead in 2010), cholera outbreaks, and political unrest.

Haiti is a double-minded country. There is a darkness of evil that is so thick it can be cut with a knife. Yet, there is the light of righteousness that makes Haiti one of the most receptive places on earth for the spread of the gospel. Our ministry has seen over 250 churches planted in 40 years. The school of preaching has trained hundreds of men and women for the kingdom. Today as the country fabric unravels, the churches stand strong as if there were a bubble of protection around them. Though I dare not travel to Haiti these days, the gospel is free to travel, not only throughout Haiti but around the world where Haitian people live. Our ministry has seen many Haitian churches planted outside of Haiti in places like France, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Florida, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Your continued support of Central Missions International makes it possible for us to partner with Jean Robert St Hilaire, who leads our efforts in Haiti, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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