Mission: DR 2005 Final Report
Right Where God Wanted Us
By Gary Fallesen
As we bounced along the rocky road leading us to Soliette, Haiti, the people stopped and watched us pass. Three white men riding on the back of motorcycles, wearing large backpacks, going in the opposite direction than most non-Haitians.
While others were fleeing this troubled Caribbean country, we were entering. We followed the directions of our Lord, all the while thinking we were going somewhere else. We thought we were going to climb a mountain – Peak de la Selle, the highest mountain in the nation at 8,793 feet or 2,680 meters – but that was not what God intended. He brought us to the hilltop village of Jeantilhome on our way up Peak de la Selle. We would need to go no higher.
As three of the four Climbing For Christ members on the Mission: Dominican Republic team entered Jeantilhome, we were ushered to the “church” – four thatch walls with no roof – to meet Pastor Meristaire Tresin. Pastor Tresin was wearing a tie and sport jacket despite the oppressive heat and humidity on the last Sunday in June. “I have prayed for two years for God to send help,” the pastor told me in Creole, as he shook my hand earnestly and looked deeply into my eyes.
Haiti, so heavy on my mind for so many hours, days and weeks, became the clear purpose of this trip. Hiking 28 miles to the rooftop of the Caribbean – 10,127-foot (3,087-meter) Pico Duarte in the Dominican Republic – became an afterthought. It it was a personal joy to share that summit of Pico Duarte with my son, Jesse; with a Dominican friend, Jose Veras, who had invited me to climb Pico Duarte seven years earlier, and with Johnathan Esper, who had the original idea to go to DR. But God made clear why He brought us to Hispaniola. It was not to see the Americas' oldest church, built in Santo Domingo by Christopher Columbus' son, Diego, in the early 1500s. But to show us where He wants a new church built. In a village on a hill.
We spent only a fraction of this Evangelic Expedition inside the borders of Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and nation awash in turmoil. (Two days after we left Haiti a Red Cross worker was abducted and killed, bringing to more than 700 the number of people slain in 10 months in the wake of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's exile. The Peace Corps had pulled out of Haiti just before we arrived and U.S. entry visas reportedly were only being offered for students and medical emergencies.) We entered Haiti from the Dominican Republic without incident. What followed was the most important part of this mission trip. It gave us a reason, a focus, a fulfillment of what Climbing For Christ is about:
To minister to those in need - in both physical and spiritual ways - in places where other missionaries will not or cannot go. To “go and make disciples of all nations,” as we are instructed by the Lord in Matthew 28:19.
I have pledged to Pastor Tresin and the people of Jeantilhome that we will help them build a church. It is our hope that one day that church will also be used as a school, since there is no school for the children in that remote village. (There is also no medical care in this place.) I have remembered the words Pastor Tresin first said to me and the help that I promised him each day in prayer. As it says in Deuteronomy 23:21 and 23: “If you make a vow to the Lord your God, do not be slow to pay it for the Lord your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin. ... Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the Lord your God with your own mouth.”
With that in mind, we are seeking the funding to build this church in 2006. If you desire to offer financial help for this project, e-mail gfallesen@ClimbingForChrist.org.
Read the DAILY DISPATCHES
See photos of THE FACES OF HAITI
Johnathan Esper's personal PHOTO ALBUM