Mission: Haiti 2010
Mission Moments (July-December)
Sharing news from the mission field...
By Gary Fallesen
President, Climbing For Christ
Photos by Miguel Rubén Guante unless otherwise noted
Friday, Dec. 24
Happy CHRISTmas from Haiti!
Three of the Haitian children God has used us to rescue (left to right, Gilbert, Miche and Sainte-Anne, with Pastor Trezin) going back to their village of Gentilhomme to spend CHRISTmas with their families. These children live with our missionary Miguel and his family most of the year.
Our schools began CHRISTmas recess after school on Wednesday, Dec. 15. When classes resume in January we are adding one teacher and a teacher supervisor to those we support. We have seven teachers and the supervisor working in the four schools attached to Climbing For Christ churches in Gentilhomme, Malasi and Thoman, Haiti, and the Dominican border town of Jimani. Each teacher receives US$125 a month.
Monday, Dec. 13
Same song, different day: Violence erupted again last week in the wake of the run-off elections for president. Results have been challenged by two-thirds of the 18 or 19 candidates. Allegations of corruption and wrong-doing. Stuffed ballot boxes, repeat voting, ballot slips scattered (uncounted) in gutters in cities, trashed polling stations, and intimidation. Only 1.1 million of the eligible 4.7 million voted, and many who didn't complained they didn't know where to go to vote. It is Haiti, after all.
The U.S. embassy reportedly said results were “inconsistent” with reports from election observers, but the United Nations' top official in Haiti declared it “a fairly good election in many ways.” And observers from the Organization of American States and the Caribbean Community said they did not believe “irregularities, as serious as they were, necessarily invalidated the process.”
Supporters of musician-turned-presidential-wanna-be Michel Martelly set fire to the party headquarters of outgoing — and now unpopular — President Rene Preval's chosen successor, Jude Celestin. The Nov. 28 election did not determine a president as no candidate received the required 50 percent of the vote. As a result, the top two finishers (Mirlande Manigat, with 31.4 percent, and the controversial Celestin, who had 22.5 percent to Martelly's 21.8 percent) will runoff against each other in January. But not before the people again exhibit their outrage.
The New York Times' lead photo on Wednesday, Dec. 8 showed the Port-au-Prince response to the release of election results the night before. A boy hid behind a garbage bin as U.N. armored vehicles approached. The headline: “Election Violence Flares in Haiti.” Another day in paradise.
This violence led the Department of State to warn U.S. citizens about the risk of traveling to Haiti, especially those arriving through Port-au-Prince, where up to 1 million people remain homeless from the January earthquake. Cap Haitien, a city on the north coast, also has had escalated violence in the past month. And these two areas have endured a cholera epidemic.
But in the mountains all is calm. If not for the desperate poverty and hunger, the hills - which offer refuge from the madness of the cities — would be idyllic. “There are not disturbances,” Climbing For Christ's Haitian missionary Miguel Rubén Guante said after meeting with Pastor Trezin (Gentilhomme) and Pastor Vilicuis (Malasi) in Thoman on Wednesday, Dec. 8.
“I don't like the idea of a musician as president of Haiti,” said Miguel, who like the people in the mountains was not disturbed by the results. “To be president of a country takes more than a comic or a popular singer. Haiti needs people who want to work for God's purpose before working for himself or for the country because work for God is work for the needy people.”
This is the work Climbing For Christ does. There are dangers inherent in this work as well.
After celebrating the first meeting of a potential church plant for Haitians working in the Dominican border town of Jimani on Sunday, Dec. 5 [see below], the evil one had his way. A Haitian murdered and robbed a Dominican Monday night. Fearing the potential repercussions in the tenuous relationship between Dominicans and Haitians, Miguel went to the authorities to see how we could help. “With that, surely we may put out all kind of bad intentions of the Dominicans against the Haitians,” Miguel said.
Despite this effort Miguel estimates that 60 percent of Haitians in Jimani fled back across the border. Attendance at the church at Jimani was noticeably lower.
“We need your prayers for our effort to get the peace between these two countries,” Miguel said. “We know that the evil feel well attacking the good work we are doing for the glory of God. In our first (worship) at the 'daughter' church, we worshiped with 56 people. That mean we were doing a good work. The evil immediately attacked with the death of the Dominican. Keep praying for Haiti and the situation on the border.”
Tuesday, Dec. 7
“One of our plans for 2011 is to bring more people to Jesus.”
That sums it up.
We may be short of money, but we will not be short of Christ's love.
When funding, which has always been tight for the work in Haiti, was limited even more, we decided we might not be able to construct many buildings for a while, but we can always build up the church. The real church. The body of Christ.
“Jimani's church is starting a little church as C4C Jimani's church 'son,'” our Haitian missionary Miguel Rubén Guante said after worshiping with some new immigrants to the Dominican border town.
“The illegal people cannot go easily to the church, so we bring the church to them,” Miguel said. “Pray for our new idea to bring those whom God want to save.”
The 'other' church at Jimani.
Fifty-six people attended our first worship at the “other“ church of Jimani. Twelve members from the C4C Jimani church went with Miguel. “Three people came to Jesus and many promise to come to Jesus.
“I have a wish to bring people to Jesus, so if they cannot come to the church, the church will go to them,” said Miguel, who fears authorities will arrest illegal immigrants if they attend the church at Jimani. (The C4C church at Jimani is currently under construction, thanks to support from First United Methodist Church in Canón City, Colo. This will be the fourth Haitian church God has used Climbing For Christ to build.)
Miguel e-mailed a photo with the subject: “First harvest for Jesus.” It was a family who attended the “other” church at Jimani and accepted Christ as their Savior.
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” — Romans 10:17 (NIV)
“I want the people to hear the message,” Miguel said.
Even if our hands cannot hammer and nail a church building (and there are many villages in the mountains in need of a house of worship), we will use our feet to deliver the Good News of Jesus.
Thursday, Nov. 25
“In the thanksgiving we have many reasons to thank God: In our four churches we have around 600 people worshiping the true God. We have around 400 children in our schools. Many farmers are harvesting bananas in our C4C banana projects. I thank God for he is using me to relieve His people. I'm glad to do that. I'll plan that each of our churches bring new members to Christ.” — Miguel Rubén Guante, Climbing For Christ's missionary to Haiti.
Wednesday, Nov. 24
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” — Luke 12:20-21 (NIV)
Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante worshipped in the church at Thoman last Sunday (Nov. 21). “It was wonderful,” he said. “A family of six members came to Jesus in Monte Pou Kris church.
“It his (Erius, the husband and father of the family) second visit and he (Pastor Luterne) was keeping him as a visitor. When they gave me an opportunity, I read the history of the rich fool in Luke 12:13-21. I let (Erius) understand we shall not make a plan to come to Jesus tomorrow or next week. He accepted Jesus in his life immediately with his family. It was wonderful.”
Eruis, left, with his family and Pastor Luterne, standing behind, after worship in Thoman.
On Monday, Miguel went to Malasi to supervise the school there. “There were 65 children in the class,” he reported. Most of those children were in the younger grade being taught by Derisma. Emilien was working with a smaller class of second-grade students.
First grade students in the school at Malasi.
Sunday is the scheduled presidential election in Haiti. There are 19 candidates vying for the position currently held by Rene Preval. The leading candidate, Jude Celestin, reportedly had his campaign convoy under attack from gunmen on Tuesday. One person was said to have been killed. Miguel will avoid travel in Haiti until after the election, which was postponed because of the earthquake in January and was threatened by the cholera outbreak. Haiti has held 13 elections since 1987 and the majority of which have been marred by delays, suspensions, widespread irregularities, fraud, boycotts, unrest and violence, according to a recent report by the International Crisis Group. It is symptomatic of Haiti's troubled history and condition.
Monday, Nov. 15
Missionary Miguel visited Malasi and surrounding villages this weekend and today. He needed to leave the God truck in Gwo Cheval and hike the five miles to Malasi because “it is raining daily there.” The seasonal rains, including those dumped on the area by Hurricane Tomas, have made the normally difficult roads “very, very bad,” even by Haitian mountain standards. “From Piret to Malasi, the road is totally erased,” Miguel said. “There are not a road for a motorbike.
“The farmers have and will have a lot of difficulty collecting the little products they may get in their farms,” Miguel said. He added that “the farms were truly damaged by the storm.”
The church at Malasi, below, was not damaged by Hurricane Tomas, but rains have harmed potato plants, like the one above.
“The church building's look well,” Miguel said. “Only there were less people (in worship because of the bad weather and difficult travel conditions).”
Monday, Nov. 8 (10 p.m.)
Our Haitian missionary Miguel worshipped at the church at Thoman on Sunday. After dealing with some issues at the church, he made his way up the flooded riverbed road and left the God truck with friends in Soliette. He hiked up to Gentilhomme in the cool of the day and slept well after a challenging day.
Today, he visited the farms and the school in Gentilhomme. “About the farms, everything is OK,” Miguel reported. “Certainly, the winds mistreated all plants, but not so bad. Our C4C bananas and coffee are very well. Our beans are very good, too.”
The healthy beans in Gentilhomme. “You may see how God is using C4C to help the people reduce the hunger,” missionary Miguel said. “That mean if we were working in more villages more people would be getting relief.”
“The school was today with 44 children in kindergarten and 11 in first year,” Miguel said after visiting the school. “They had give a good use to the uniforms because 24 of 44 children in kindergarten have uniforms and 9 of 11 in first year have it. That is good news.” (This is good because we have not had the funding to buy several hundred uniforms needed in the four school Climbing For Christ supports.)
We give God thanks and praise for this good news from Gentilhomme.
Monday, Nov. 8 (6 p.m.)
Hurricane Tomas is gone and life has returned to normal in Gentilhomme, where schoolchildren (above) were playing today outside the Monte Pou Kris church and school. Not all crops were destroyed by the storm. One of our farmers (below) holds the harvest of banana plants provided by the ministry.
Saturday, Nov. 6 (8:30 p.m.)
Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante returned late this afternoon from an attempted trip into the mountains to survey the damage done by Hurricane Tomas. “I could not arrive to Soliette with truck and I could not arrive completely to Soliette walking,” he said. “The river from Dibwa cut the road right down the mountain. From where, in 2007, we passed many hours (as our team navigated the flooded 'road') to Fond Verrettes, there is no road. The river damaged all that part.”
The end of the road.
“There are flood in Fond Parisien and some plants of corn down,” Miguel said. “As there are many heavy truck waiting to continue to Thiotte and other villages, maybe they will try to fix the road.”
Saturday, Nov. 6 (11 a.m.)
Hurricane Tomas missed making a direct hit on Haiti, which is a praise report. However, the Category 1 storm that clipped the far western tip of the island wreaked havoc in many places.
“I just get a call from Pastor Vilcuis (in Malasi),” missionary Miguel e-mailed at 5:30 a.m. “It was very damaged the winds there. As it is not raining now, he will go out to check and call me again to give me more information.
“I just get information from pastor Trezin (in Gentilhomme),” Miguel e-mailed three hours later. “The winds destroyed the beans and all the plants in their farms.”
He added that water flooding down the riverbed that doubles as a road into that area of the Chaine de la Selle mountains is now damaged. Miguel left this morning for Thoman. He will attempt to reach Soliette, via the riverbed road. Ultimately he will go “where the road let me.”
Continue to pray for the people affected by this storm as we assess what will need to be done in Tomas' aftermath.
Friday, Nov. 5
Tomas gained strength and was upgraded from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of about 85 mph when it brushed the far western tip of Haiti this morning. This afternoon it was moving through the Windward Passage that separates Haiti and Cuba. The National Hurricane Center forecasted 5-10 inches of rain for Haiti and the Dominican Republic in the wake of Tomas. “These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides over mountainous terrain,” the Hurricane Center said.
“I'm in communication with Thoman and Gentilhomme,” missionary Miguel said at mid-day. “There only water and breeze there. But not damages.”
The people in the mountains are ill-equipped for storms such as this. They are unable to “stock up” on food. If bad weather persists this could present a problem for the people we minister to in the Chaine de la Selle range — in Gentilhomme, Malasi, and Thoman. We continue to pray for these people as they endure.
Thursday, Nov. 4
The U.S. Department of State posted a travel alert for Haiti on Tuesday as Tropical Storm Tomas bore down on the island nation. We responded by alerting Climbing For Christ's international Prayer Team. We asked this team to pray that the brunt of the storm, which was forecasted to be a Category 1 or 2 hurricane when it slammed into the heart of Haiti, would miss Haiti altogether. The country, of course, is still reeling from the January earthquake and a recent cholera outbreak that has killed hundreds. Little has been done to improve conditions in Port-au-Prince. Where we are ministering, in the mountains, a tropical storm could result in loss of life and widespread damage to what little the people have there (such as crops). We asked for prayer that God would show our Haitian brothers and sisters mercy.
Those prayers were answered. Tomas remains a tropical storm, not a hurricane, and it has moved farther west. It should pass Haiti on Thursday night and Friday. It is expected to make landfall on Cuba.
“We are well,” missionary Miguel reported Thursday morning. “I just have communication with Thoman, Gentilhomme and Malasi, where it is raining and it is blowing a light breeze.”
We continue to pray for mercy. Winds of about 70 mph may still blow across the western end of Haiti (and Port-au-Prince) on Friday.
Tomas' projected path today, above, versus the path forecasted on Tuesday, below, when it was expected to slam directly into Haiti. (National Weather Service)
Tuesday, Oct. 24
The presentation to the Lord of a baby, held by Miguel, during worship in Thoman.
Missionary Miguel made the first of a series of monthly visits to Climbing For Christ churches on Sunday when he preached at the new church at Thoman. About 60 people attended worship.
He taught from the Old Testament, sharing what happened to those who rebelled against God.
“When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, 'The LORD — he is God! The LORD — he is God!'”
— 1 Kings 18:39 (NIV)
“If we know the Lord is the true God, we shall serve him,” Miguel told the church at Thoman. “So we'll (stop) any voodoo act. Come to the church, doesn't mean we are serving God.”
He taught that you can't serve God on Sunday and voodoo on the other days of the week. He also pointed to Deuteronomy 28:15-20 (curses for disobedience). “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” Miguel said, quoting James 3:11.
To be blessed by God keep you us he told you in Deuteronomy 5:6-7
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”
—Deuteronomy 5:6-7 (NIV)
Thursday, Oct. 21
The monthly seminary was held at the new church at Thoman on Wednesday, Oct. 20. Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante taught 28 pastors and church leaders. The subject was angels, demons and Satan.
Miguel said he talked about “the angels' activities and the Satan activities. And how we may avoid (Satan's activities). It was very nice and understanding for they could see in their daily living all those attacks of the evil.”
He also visited the kindergarten class (photo above), where about 75 children are attending. There are about 20 students in first grade. Funding is still needed to buy uniforms for the children to ensure school attendance.
Miguel will be visiting some of the churches associated with Climbing For Christ, including Savanne Zonbi and Bwapin Kouver. He is also planning a conference for the pastors and leaders participating in the seminary to give thanks “to God for all He had made for us during the 2010 year.” He'll get year-end reports from pastors, plan needs for 2011, and share about serving God and how Climbing For Christ does that.
This teaching has begun in the Dominican border town of Jimani, where Miguel and his family live in a Haitian community. A monthly Bible study was initiated last week with a discussion of “what is C4C” and how the ministry “go where no one want to go or may go,” Miguel explained. “(Members of Climbing For Christ) carry the Gospel of Jesus through our preaching, Bible study, and social work.” He then outlined C4C beliefs, saying: “We believe in one God in three persons. We believe and practice the under water baptize. We believe and practice the communion.”
Thursday, Oct. 14
School's open in Haiti: Students (above) come to school at the new church at Thoman earlier this week.
School supplies: Delivered recently by Climbing For Christ missionary Miguel Rubén Guante. The teaching staff (left to right) Milus Jesilus, who is the Monte Pou Kris schools supervisor; Vixson Pierre, the first-grade instructor at Thoman, and Naderge Fonterme, the kindergarten instructor at Thoman, standing with Pastor Luterne Polissaint and some of the school's supplies.
School benches: First-grade students take their seats on the new benches made for the church and school at Thoman.
Wednesday, Sept. 29
Haitian missionary Miguel Rubén Guante continues to reflect on the dedication of the church at Thoman: “Until now, I had not seen a pastor feel so much glad, joyful to God through C4C for a church building like Pastor Luterne and his sons. All his daughters and sons were singing and crying for joy. Praise God to help all this joy (so it) can be used for His glory.”
Pastor Luterne and family members, above, praising God during the dedication of His church on Sunday. Below, Pastor Luterne hugs Miguel.
Monday, Sept. 27
“Let me tell you something, my joy was so great, I could not stop crying,” Haitian missionary Miguel Rubén Guante said, reflecting on the dedication of the new church at Thoman on Sunday, Sept. 26. “Seeing the great and the excellence of the dedication, about 20 pastors of different churches looking for me with a surprise face seeing the great building. The church is a refuge, spiritually and physically.”
Sunday, Sept. 26
There is hope in Haiti. Amidst all of the suffering and all of the need. Despite a constant battle for funding and resources to do the Lord's work. There are days like today when God smiles on His people and we rejoice in the celebration of the love of Jesus.
Today, the church at Thoman was dedicated.
“Today was an extraordinary day,” said Miguel Rubén Guante, our Haitian missionary. “Around 300 people attended the dedication.
“When something is wonderful, so big and good, you can't explain it in a short time. You need days to do that.”
The church at Thoman is the third God has used Climbing For Christ to construct in Haiti, joining Gentilhomme (built in 2006) and Malasi (earlier this year).
To God alone be the glory!
Wednesday, Sept. 22
The church at Thoman is ready to be dedicated on Sunday, Sept. 26. This is the third church in the Chaine de la Salle mountains of Haiti that God has used us to build. All glory to Him!
“Everything is going well around the building,” missionary Miguel Rubén Guante said. “Many people show interest to come to church now. They are very excited and happy.”
Miguel said that Pastor Luterne Polissain's nine sons are “very happy for the church,” and Pastor Luterne continues to lead despite a near-fatal motorbike accident in late July.
Monday, Sept. 13
The 2010-2011 school year is scheduled to start in Haiti on Oct. 4. If you recall, we announced on Aug. 17 that we were beginning the school year on an austerity budget. There was not enough funding to provide our 310 students with new uniforms and shoes. We needed US$20.42 per child for uniforms and shoes — a total of $6,330.20. About one-quarter of that amount ($1,548.45) was wired today.
“The problem is the children in Haiti often have not any clothes,” said our Haitian missionary, Miguel Rubén Guante, explaining why we must provide uniforms for children in the mountain villages Gentilhomme, Malawi, and Thoman.
“That (a lack of funding for uniforms) may cause many that they can't go to school. That news will make them sad.”
Students, most wearing C4C uniforms provided last year, in the school at Gentilhomme in May.
Bible-based education is the only thing that can change the future of Haiti. This is why we place such an emphasis on our schools: providing uniforms and shoes for students, supplies for students and teachers, and support for teachers in four villages.
“Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.”
— Deuteronomy 32:2 (NIV)
Saturday, Sept. 11
Final touches are being put on the church at Thoman in preparation for the Sept. 26 dedication. The floor was being put in on Saturday (photo below).
Saturday, Aug. 28
“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” — Ephesians 1:22-23 (NIV)
The monthly seminary training was held Wednesday (Aug. 25) in Thoman with 28 pastors and church leaders attending. Originally, we were planning on teaching about the sacrament. But issues had arisen in the past month to change the teaching to a day of instruction about “Division.”
“I think our pastors and church leaders are poor babies (spiritually) who need our good (teaching),” missionary and seminary instructor Miguel Rubén Guante said as we prepared this month’s lesson.
He noted that his background (“the dark experience”) in another church had prepared him for this. “I know well the Haitian habit,” he said, referring to the backbiting we have experienced recently. “Who is sick?” Miguel asked, rhetorically. “The church or the leaders?”
It has been a challenging time for the work in Haiti:
- Pastor Luterne (above) from the church at Thoman was seriously injured in a motorbike accident. While he recovered from the initial injuries and was released from the hospital, he suffered damage to his head that will require long-term attention. “His injures were more to his head,” Miguel said. “He lost all his front teeth. He needs to repair his mouth and face. He cannot see out of his two eyes.” Pastor Luterne will need further medical attention and treatment.
- Pastor Joseph from the church at Fond Verettes died. Pastor Joseph had requested affiliation with Climbing For Christ in March (during our mission trip); he wanted spiritual assistance, not physical assistance. This was uncommon. Most pastors ask for physical help, such as a church build. Pastor Joseph had not been sick for very long, Miguel said. “He was suffering with some pain.” And then he died.
- Pastor Vilcius (above) from the church at Malasi became very ill. He was hospitalized this week in Jimani, Dominican Republic. “He is blooding, he has fever, flu, pain in abdomen, problem to urinate, low (blood) pressure, and diarrhea with blooding,” Miguel said.
Illnesses and death, coupled with difficulties from some pastors (especially those who had seemed grounded in their faith), have put a great deal of pressure on the mission. We have prayed for God’s protection as we seek to fulfill His promise in Matthew 16:18 (“I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it”).
Wednesday, Aug. 18
Kindergarten class starting in Jimani.
School opened on Tuesday in the Dominican border town of Jimani. While our school at the church at Jimani serves Haitians living in the D.R., the school must maintain the same calendar as Dominican schools. That means, it was “back to school” for 48 of our 70 students. (The others are still “on vacation” with family in Haiti, where our other three schools will not open until September.)
We are beginning the 2010-2011 school year on an austerity budget. Our school budget is US$8,681.48, which covers:
- Uniforms and shoes for 310 students in the four schools. We purchase a uniform (shirt and pants or skirt) and a pair of shoes for each child or else their parents would not send them to school — because they have little or no clothing to wear. This uniform is often the first new clothing any of our schoolchildren have ever received.
- Supplies for nine teachers (three each in Jimani and Thoman, two in Malasi, and one in Gentilhomme), including blackboards and books.
- Supplies for the students, ranging from notebooks, pencils and pens to crayons and scissors.
Because of a shortage in funding, we must hold off on buying new uniforms and start the school year on an austerity budget of US$2,064.60. This is for supplies only.
Fortunately, many of the children in Jimani, at least, kept their uniforms in good shape from last school year and wore them for this year’s first day of classes (photo above).
Education is not the only area of need, however. Here are some others:
Agriculture — The summer harvest of beans and onions was destroyed by rains so the people in Malasi and Gentilhomme will soon be in need of a Food Bank drop. Last year, Climbing For Christ spent US$3,000 to feed the hungry.
Church builds — The church at Thoman is nearing completion and will be dedicated when Pastor Luterne is physically ready to return to his flock. Meanwhile, work will continue on the construction of the church at Jimani, which is being funded by support from First United Methodist Church in Cañon City, Colo. Renovations still are needed on the church at Gentilhomme, our first build in 2006, at an estimated cost of US$3,631.93.
Truck maintenance — “The God truck,” so named because the Lord provided for us after several years of exorbitant rental costs, needs to have its four-wheel drive repaired. Estimated cost: US$600. Plus, a new set of tires is needed two or three times a year because “the God truck” goes where there really aren't any roads in a country where there really aren't any good tires.
Monthly support — A minimum of US$2,700 to maintain the ministry. This number grows as the ministry continues to expand.
Mission: Haiti was founded on the words of Jesus from Matthew 16:18. He said, “... and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
We know that nothing can prevail against our God. He is victorious! But we still have work to do. In Haiti, that translates into LOTS of work. Please pray for this work and consider giving financially. You can be His helping hands.
Saturday, Aug. 14
We are thinking “back to school” in Hispaniola, where this week missionary Miguel hosted our 2010-2011 teachers' training in Thoman.
Miguel taught about the physical aspects of our schools — “about the building of the school inside and outside and how it shall to be clean.” He also instructed them in “pedagogy,” which is the study of being a teacher and how to prepare class lessons for the pupils. Pedagogy is a strategy of instruction.
“We teach about how the teacher, the overseer of the children, must fix anything in the school and have space and (be attentive at) looking over the children,” Miguel explained. “That is: fix the blackboard in a good place where the children may see and may use it from the little to the big children. Be careful when there is a problem with or between the children to make decision.”
Some of the six teachers, above, supported by Climbing For Christ in four schools (Gentilhomme, Malasi and Thoman, Haiti, and Jimani, Dominican Republic) met Tuesday, Aug. 10 for our 2010-2011 teachers' training. Back row: Emilien, far left, from Malasi; Mathuren, second from left, from Gentilhomme; and Elucia and Leandere, right, from Jimani. Front row: Derisma, far left, from Malasi, and teacher candidates from Thoman. Climbing For Christ will provide monthly support for one teacher in Thoman this school year. This is Thoman's first year with a school. Miguel said Thoman will keep two or three teachers (and divide the pay) “because they want the school.” C4C pays each teacher US$125 per month.
Tuesday, Aug. 10
Pastor Luterne is recovering.
Pastor Luterne Polissain of the church at Thoman was released from the hospital in Port-au-Prince on Monday, as expected, two weeks after his motorbike accident. But he did not return home to Thoman. His sons were concerned that he would not be able to get the medical care he still needs if he left Port-au-Prince. So he is staying with family there.
Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante visited him today. “He wanted to come home, but he is not in condition to come to Thoman,” Miguel said. “He look well for he is bether, but not physically well.”
Because Pastor Luterne is not yet back in Thoman the celebratory worship on Sunday will be postponed. He has asked Miguel to worship with him on what happens to be Miguel's 50th birthday.
Sunday, Aug. 8
Good news: “Pastor Luterne will come back home tomorrow and we are preparing a (worship service) to celebrate his new birth,” missionary Miguel reported.
Thursday, July 29
On Tuesday, Pastor Luterne Polissain of the church at Thoman was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. He was riding from Thoman to Leroch to check on the doors being made for the final stage of construction on the church at Thoman. He hit a “sleeping policeman” (speed bump) and was thrown from his motorcycle, suffering head injuries. He was taken to a hospital in Port-au-Prince.
Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante visited Pastor Luterne on Wednesday. He said, “He is coming (along) well. After I pray for him and gave him your message (that the Climbing For Christ Prayer Team is lifting him) he open his eye and talk to me.”
A family member of Pastor Luterne's said: “The evil (one) is angry for the work of Pastor Luterne in Thoman.”
Pastor Luterne and his flock waited several years for the start of building on a new church. They have worshipped for many years in a community owned building that has also been used for voodoo. In October 2009, we began construction on the church at Thoman and it is scheduled to be dedicated in August.
Pastor Luterne, center, with missionary Miguel, right, and a church leader after construction began on the church at Thoman. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
Saturday, July 24
Gilbert Lindor, the young man whom God used us to rescue from certain death in August 2007 (see “The miracle of Gilbert”), was baptized as a child of God today! We praise Him for the life He has given Gilbert.
Gilbert, center with crutches, playing soccer with friends outside the home of missionary Miguel, where he lives and goes to school in the Dominican border town of Jimani. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
Wednesday, July 21
We rejoice in having had 49 pastors and church leaders from 15 villages in attendance at our monthly seminary. It was the largest group yet. The topic for this month was “Priests and Pastors.”
Our missionary and seminary instructor, Miguel Rubén Guante, told the group:
“Sometimes we advise our children to learn some profession because we see other people was very poor and after they learned this profession they became rich. So we have pastors whom are pastors because their father were pastor. We have other who are pastors because this is a business. And we have another little group of pastors working hard to bring souls to God.
“Climbing For Christ is trying to make all the affiliated pastors and all those whom are asking for affiliation become a vocation pastor. That is the reason we are trying to make you understand the responsibility of the pastor.”
Miguel spoke about the role of the “priest,” found in 1 Samuel 1:3 and 2:34-35. And he talked about the pastor being “authorized (and) responsible for a Christian congregation to rear livestock, guide and care.”
The seminary met, perhaps for the last time, in the old Thoman church, above. The new church, below, is nearly complete and may host the seminary in August.
Monday, July 5
Grading our schools: We began the 2009-2010 academic year with 207 children attending our three schools (located in Gentilhomme, Malasi, and the Dominican border town of Jimani). Of those, for various reasons, 157 children were able to complete the school year in late June. Here's the school-by-school review:
Gentilhomme — This was our first school in Haiti, dating back to 2005-2006, but is also our most challenging. We had 55 children in our kindergarten and 22 in first grade. Twenty completed kindergarten and 11 passed to first grade, while only eight finished first grade and none will pass to second grade. The first-grade teacher has been relieved of his duties.
School children in Malasi. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
Malasi — This was only the third year of our school here, but it's already a success story. All but one of the 75 children that began the school year were able to finish. (The one child who did not finish died in June.) Of the 47 in kindergarten, 33 passed to first grade, and of the 27 in first grade, 13 passed to second grade.
Jimani — All 55 students that began the school year finished with eight of 31 kindergartners passing to first grade and 11 of 24 first-graders passing to second grade.
Jimani, where our fourth church is under construction, will be the site of our future residential high school. We are hoping to add a third class there in 2010-2011. We hope to begin a new school in the church at Thoman, where building should be completed this summer.
Climbing For Christ supports the teachers who work in these schools. In 2009-2010, we supported six teachers (two at each of the schools). In 2010-2011, we propose to have seven teachers (three in Jimani, two in Malasi, and one each in Gentilhomme and Thoman). Prayer and support for these schools is needed.
“Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.” — Ecclesiastes 7:12 (NIV)
“But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.”
— Malachi 4:2 (NIV)
Help for Haiti
We need your prayers and financial gifts to continue the building of Haiti. We are building it in the name of the Lord, claiming mountain villages for Christ. Rising costs — and unethical practices by those taking advantage of incoming relief aid in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake in other parts of Haiti — will not deter God’s work. We support a missionary, teachers, build churches and schools, and provide agricultural, medical, sanitation, and water assistance. Mission: Haiti is a 24/7 operation every day of the year, and that requires intercession and funding. You can be our helping hands. Please pray for what God is doing through us and consider supporting the ministry by sending a donation to Climbing For Christ, c/o Mission: Haiti, P.O. Box 16290, Rochester, NY 14616-0290 USA.