Mission: Haiti 2012
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
Tuesday, Oct. 2
The Monte Pou Kris (Climbing For Christ) monthly seminary was attended by more than 20 pastors and church leaders on Saturday, Sept. 29. The lesson, prepared by Climbing For Christ spiritual coordinator Jordan Rowley, was the second part of a study on the Christian family. It covered parenting and children. “The seminary was very good,” said missionary Miguel Rubén Guante.
After the seminary, Miguel traveled to the Haitian border village of Mare Pitre, where he has been evangelizing since late July. On Sunday, Sept. 30, 26 people from Mare Pitre gathered for worship. It was the third Sunday of worship in this village. “(Of) all those people we met only one was Christian,” Miguel said. “All the rest are new believers.”
Encouraged by the number of church goers in this previously unreached village, we have committed US$600 to establish a temporary structure to protect the people from sun and rain.
Two participants in the Mare Pitre church also attended our seminary, which is designed to train and equip pastors and church leaders — many of whom have no type of formal education. Miguel said those who have been in the seminary for some time welcomed the new prospective leaders. “They (members of the seminary) are planning to visit Mare Pitre soon,” he said.
Wednesday, Sept. 19
Worship under a shade tree in Mare Pitre, Haiti.
Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante returned to his home from our relief trip to Malasi on Monday after a stop-off Sunday in the Haitian border village of Mare Pitre. “Great was my trip and great the victory of God in Mare Pitre, where 15 people could for the first day be in (worship) to God,” Miguel said. We recently began to evangelize in Mare Pitre, and God is moving among the people living there. All praise be to Him!
Sunday, Sept. 16
Two-hundred two people gathered to worship and give thanks for repairs on the church at Malasi.
Saturday, Sept. 15
People from Malasi in front of the repaired church.
“As my soul was sad when I saw the roof of the church down, so my soul today is joyful when I saw the new roof,” said Miguel Rubén Guante, Climbing For Christ's missionary to Haiti. “Great is the joy in Malasi.”
We praise God for this. He provided through His people — sending more than $16,100 in relief aid. These funds have been used to buy and deliver food for those left hungry in the villages where we minister. They also were used to replace the roof of the church at Malasi that was blown off by Tropical Storm Isaac.
Putting on the finishing touches on Friday.
Miguel delivered supplies for this project on Thursday. “We worked hard that day until the night,” he said. “Yesterday (Friday), we started again very early and finally about 3 p.m. we could finish.”
“The Climbing For Christ's church (at Malasi) is the first affected building (damaged by a storm and) repaired. Praise the Lord for that.”
In addition to providing food and repairing the church roof, God has used us to buy bean seeds during the week and in the days ahead fertilizer also will be delivered to the farmers so they may replant their fields.
Job said, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Whether the Lord took or allowed the roof to be taken away, He has again given. May the name of the Lord be praised in storms and in this time of joy.
Friday, Sept. 14
Day 2 of roof repairs: putting on the tin.
Thursday, Sept. 13
Work has begun on the roof on the church at Malasi as supplies — purchased with funding provided by Climbing For Christ supporters — arrived today.
Wednesday, Sept. 12
Truck with supplies for Malasi: food and roofing materials.
Climbing For Christ has purchased materials to replace the roof that Tropical Storm Isaac blew off the church at Malasi. Those materials — wood, tin and nails — along with food for the people are being transported Thursday. A Dominican truck will carry this aid to Foret des Pins, where a Haitian heavy truck will take the load up the hills to Malasi.
“Praise the Lord for His early provision for His sons and daughters in Haiti,” missionary Miguel Rubén Guante said.
Tuesday, Sept. 11
Food was delivered to the people at the churches at Gentilhomme and Thoman on Sunday. Missionary Miguel reports that Milus, a church leader from Thoman who serves with us, “told me the people are very happy.”
Children in the Gentilhomme church, above, keep an eye on the food bags. Later, there mothers carried the bags home on their heads, below.
In each of the Monte Pou Kris churches the people gave thanks to God for His provision. Miguel said there were 84 people in worship at the church at Jimani on the Dominican border on Sunday. They also went out from the church and delivered some bags of food to people who do not live near the Jimani church.
“We believe that God provides to whom He wants where He wants and when He wants. Praise His name!” Miguel said.
Today, he began traveling to Malasi, but is delayed (possibly for a few days) near the border. In the meantime, we are also waiting on news from the hospital in Santo Domingo, DR, where Pastor Blanco is expected to undergo surgery this week.
Friday, Sept. 7
More than US$15,500 has been raised to help with Haiti storm relief and to pay for cancer surgery for Pastor Blanco of the Climbing For Christ church at Jimani. Blanco is scheduled to undergo surgery next week.
In the meantime, food has been purchased as the first of three stages of assistance in the aftermath of the destructive Tropical Storm Isaac.
Buying and loading food to be delivered to hungry villages in need, above. Food bags, below, prepared to go to families. These bags contain rice, beans, sugar, cooking oil, flour, spaghetti, corn flour, sardines, and soap.
About $3,000 in food has been purchased for delivery to more than 150 families in five villages currently served by Climbing For Christ. Another $3,000 will provide beans and fertilizer to plant in Gentilhomme, Malasi and Thoman, where crops were virtually destroyed by the Aug. 25 storm. An additional $5,000-plus will be used to put the roof back on the church at Malasi.
We offer thanks to God for providing through 17 cheerful givers and pray that our stewardship of these funds is pleasing to Him.
Sunday, Sept. 2
Pastor Vilcuis reported from the church at Malasi that 90 people worshiped the Lord despite having a building that lost its roof in the winds of Tropical Storm Isaac.
“I'm very happy to know much people were worshiping today under the sun,” missionary Miguel Rubén Guante said. “That make me understand they are adoring God not the building and as they adoring God and God know they need a strong building where they may gather to worship, He will provide for that.”
Climbing For Christ members and friends are answering the call to help those in need. We have received more than US$5,500 since we declared a state of emergency on Thursday. Many more thousands of dollars have been promised. It is estimated that more than $10,000 will be needed to minimally provide food for the hungry, plants to replace all of the crops destroyed, a new roof for the church at Malasi, and assistance for the many people with damaged homes.
One of many homes in Gentilhomme that lost a roof, above, and a woman outside her damaged home in Thoman, below.
Miguel said the people of Malasi will “work on the road to fix the damage to make it able for the transport of materials.” The so-called road is a trail that leads up into the mountains near Malasi.
While the church body gathered in Malasi, there were 67 people worshiping in Thoman and 80 in the Haitian church in the Dominican border town of Jimani. Miguel preached about hospitality to his home church in Jimani. Gentilhomme also held worship, but we have not heard the number in attendance.
“But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, 'You are my God!'” — Psalm 31:14 (NLT)
Thursday, Aug. 30
It was as if Satan had punched me in the stomach. I felt suffocated and I wanted to cry. It was painful to see the photo of the roof stripped off the church at Malasi – the second we were blessed to build just 2½ years ago. That was Wednesday evening (see “Mission Moment” below).
This morning more photos from the mountains of Haiti, which have had homes and lives devastated yet again — this time by Tropical Storm Isaac.
A field of destroyed corn.
“Let me tell you, 60 percent of the animals are dead,” missionary Miguel Rubén Guante reported today after visiting Malasi. “All the bananas, corn, beans and any plants are destroyed by the breeze of Isaac. I have not a word to explain.
“The economy is based in little farms where the people sow and harvest. This harvest is for the school of their children, for (going to the) hospital in case of illness. This harvest is often their (bank) account, saving the corn in a tree for sale to buy some animals.”
All of that is gone now.
Teacher Derisma with his wife and some of their children near their damaged home.
We were able to send a little money — very little — to Pastor Vilcuis and one of our Malasi teachers, Derisma. But all of the people have a need. What will we do? How will we answer this unspoken cry from the least of these?
The damaged roof of a house behind another Malasi family.
Miguel said the church at Malasi will “refuse the attack of Satan” if we can provide some plastic to cover the open roof until we can raise funds to replace what was blown off in last weekend’s storm. That is one goal. But, Miguel said, “with the hunger there is need for some answer” immediately, and the people will need assistance rebuilding their homes. This is an emergency. Can you help?
Wednesday, Aug. 29
Tropical Storm Isaac peeled back the tin roof of the church at Malasi like a can opener, leaving the contents exposed. Original reports of damage done by the storm were not exaggerations. Haitian missionary Miguel Rubén Guante was sent to report on the aftermath in villages where Climbing For Christ has been working for many years. His findings are only just beginning to come in. More updates will come. But we know these brothers and sisters and friends in these mountain places need our help. There is no other aid coming to them. We are responsible.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” — Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
Will you help? Please send assistance to Climbing For Christ, c/o Haiti Relief, P.O. Box 16290, Rochester, NY 14616-0290 USA. Or CLICK HERE and give online via PayPal.
Another view of the damaged church at Malasi photographed today. This was the second church built in Haiti by Climbing For Christ; it was completed in 2010.
Sunday, Aug. 26
UPDATE (3 p.m. Eastern time): Bad news from Malasi, where Pastor Vilcuis of the Climbing For Christ church reports damage to the roof of the new church, his house, the missionary house, the house of teacher Derisma, and the homes of many of those who have assisted the work God has shared with us there. “There are not any bananas or other plants in Malasi — all fall down,” said missionary Miguel.
“At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: 'Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.'” — Job 1:20-21 (NIV)
Tropical Storm Isaac left Haiti in its wake on Saturday and the spotlight turned to Florida — and the Republic National Convention’s interruption, etc. News reports from Haiti focused, as usual, on Port-au-Prince and other cities, such as Jacmel, which were affected by the storm. Rarely does anyone hear about what is happening in rural areas, particularly in the mountains where Climbing For Christ serves.
While the world heard yet again about the hundreds of thousands of tent dwellers in Port-au-Prince, they did not hear about those who are living in shelter as flimsy or perhaps worse than a tent.
In Gentilhomme, where Climbing For Christ built its first house of worship for God, Pastor Trezin reported “the church was moved by the breeze of Isaac, but it is well.” Surrounding farms did not fare as well. Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante said they are “very damaged.”
Elsewhere, the homes of Climbing For Christ church members were damaged to varying degrees. A half-dozen or so were “partially” damaged in the Haitian community on a hillside in the Dominican border town of Jimani. In Thoman, “we have about 15 to 20 houses damaged,” Miguel said. Malasi had yet to be heard from in the aftermath of Isaac.
“This storm looks like the worst disaster for Haiti,” Miguel said. “Here in Jimani, the storm came to worsen our situation of hunger and if the Dominican border town is under hunger, you may imagine Haiti before and after the crossing of Isaac.
“That is Haiti. Look at the people of Midian or any other enemy of God,” Miguel said, referring to the people who worshiped a multitude of gods, and whom God commanded the Israelites to destroy in Numbers. “Haiti cannot rest from His persecution.”
Miguel recognizes our need to “fight against the evil — voodoo.” We pray for Haitian people to turn from wickedness and idolatry and to the One True God, whose Son Jesus died for their sins. They must follow Christ through all the storms of this world.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” — Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
Posted 1 a.m. Eastern time
Saturday, Aug. 25
The Soliette river, which flows from the Chaine de la Selle mountains in Haiti, churning after Isaac. This river produced a great flood in 2004, killing thousands on both sides of the border. Often, before the hurricane season, it runs dry.
Tropical Storm Isaac blew across Haiti in the overnight hours Friday with the eye of the storm crossing the country's southern peninsula (southwest of Port-au-Prince) early Saturday morning.
Climbing For Christ's Haitian missionary, Miguel Rubén Guante, reported from his home in the Dominican border town of Jimani early Saturday morning: “We are under a heavy breeze of Isaac from 11 p.m. As it is at night and (there is) no electricity we cannot go out to know how is the village. As soon as the breeze stop I'll get information.”
We are waiting on reports from our mountain villages, which would have experienced the 60+ mph winds. Meteorologists forecast: “Rainbands on the cyclone's eastern flank will continue to hammer Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Storm total rainfall of 8 to 12 inches is possible.” Flooding and mudslides are feared.
Satellite view of Isaac covering Hispaniola at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Continue to pray for the people of Haiti in the aftermath of Isaac.
Posted 9 a.m. Eastern time
Friday, Aug. 24
Tropical Storm Isaac gained strength on Friday while spinning south of Haiti. The National Weather Service issued this alert Friday evening: “ISAAC TEMPORARILY SLOWS DOWN...BUT STILL EXPECTED TO MAKE LANDFALL IN HAITI TONIGHT.”
Isaac's location, south of Haiti, at 8 p.m. Friday.
Climbing For Christ missionary Miguel Rubén Guante reported in Friday morning from the Dominican border town of Jimani, saying there was “rain and soft breeze. I'm in contact with Pastor Trezin (Gentilhomme), Pastor Vilcuis (Malasi), and Milus (Thoman) and Andrew of Mare Pitre.”
Please hold the people of Haiti up in prayer for protection. May the worst of Isaac turn away from this troubled land.
Posted 8 p.m. Eastern time
Thursday, Aug. 23
The threat of Tropical Storm Isaac, which could be a Category 1 hurricane when it is forecasted to hit Haiti on Friday, may force the postponement of our monthly seminary scheduled for this weekend. Please pray for those in Isaac's path.
Posted 8 p.m. Eastern time
Saturday, Aug. 11
Haitian missionary Miguel Rubén Guante returned from another successful visit to Mare Pitre. “My trip was good,” he reported. “I contacted some of the first group (five families that accepted Christ on the initial evangelizing visit two weeks previous) and I met others.”
Praising God for this group of new believers in the remote Haitian border town of Mare Pitre.
“The last large group agree to (meet) for my next trip to worship together on Saturday, Aug. 18 and Sunday, Aug. 19,” Miguel said.
“I have contacted 11 families. That may be a great group or no. When I gather with them and we are worshiping I will have a clear idea of our project. The village is large, but the houses are far away one by another. Once we may start a church and get a leader to guide, it soon will grow.”
A man receiving the Good News of Jesus Christ in Mare Pitre, a village that is quite arid despite the start of the rainy season. Ernesto was the first storm to affect Haiti with winds and rains keeping most Monte Pou Kris churches from worshiping on Sunday, Aug. 5.
“I give thanks to God for He brought me back home safely,” Miguel said. “I give thanks too to God for He desired to use me to bring those who He want to be saved.”
Sunday, July 29
On Thursday, missionary Miguel Rubén Guante traveled 206-kilometers south of Jimani to another Dominican border town, Pedernales, to make his way back into Haiti. He has been blocked from crossing the border in Jimani, where he lives, by a Dominican official on a power trip. “I thanks God for my safe arrival in Pedernales,” Miguel said Thursday evening.
The following day he crossed into Haiti and began to evangelize — “searching for new believers in Christ” — as he traveled to our monthly seminary in Thoman. He visited with five families in the village of Mare Pitre and the Holy Spirit worked in their hearts and the people agreed to follow Jesus.
The first of two houses, above, who desired Jesus. The second house is below.
One of the men in this village will prepare the people for Miguel's next visit. We know that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). We know that God used the Dominican obstacle of the border crossing in Jimani to lead Miguel down a road he would not normally travel to meet these Haitian families and introduce them to Jesus.
After sharing Christ with these people, Miguel traveled to Thoman for Saturday's seminary, the first of a two-part study prepared by Climbing For Christ spiritual coordinator Jordan Rowley on what it means to be a Christian family. “Our families are really the first ministry that our Lord has called us to,” Jordan wrote in his greeting to the pastors and church leaders attending this study, which focused on marriage and the Biblical roles of the husband and wife.
The new front being put on the church at Gentilhomme as part of renovations on the original Monte Pou Kris (Climbing For Christ) building.
Upon completing the seminary, Miguel hiked to Gentilhomme. He had expressed excitement to “be in Gentilhomme again to meet me with the people there and share the God love with them.” He did so today before beginning his travels back to Jimani via Pedernales.
We give praise and thanks for the way God is moving us to serve the people of Haiti. We ask for His continued protection, provision and direction as more people turn from the evil of voodoo and embrace the love of Jesus.
“But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” — Joshua 24:15 (NIV)
Sunday, July 22
Pastor “Blanco” speaking today at church at Jimani.
There was joy at the Monte Pou Kris (Climbing For Christ) church in the Dominican border town of Jimani today as Pastor Emilio (“Blanco”) Setoute attended worship for the first time in two months. Blanco is being treated for cancer in Santo Domingo. He will undergo surgery very soon. To date his medical expenses have been US$1,500. Blanco has been assisted by Climbing For Christ and our missionary Miguel Rubén Guante. If you can help with Blanco’s needs please follow the “Helping Hands” instructions at right.
Wednesday, July 18
Work on the front of the church at Gentilhomme.
(Photos by Milus Jesilus)
The church at Gentilhomme has been busy rebuilding the front of the 6½-year-old building we constructed as part of renovations we are doing on the original Monte Pou Kris church. In addition to improvements on the front of the building, the floor, doors and windows will be redone and the structure repainted. The original estimate for this project was US$3,700, but it is clear the actual cost will exceed that amount. Currently, we need $1,400 for additional materials, such as sand, rebar and cement.
Additional need is nothing unusual in Haiti, where opposition to improving lives is a constant battle — both spiritual and physical.
For instance, our missionary Miguel Rubén Guante is now prohibited from crossing the border at Jimani, Dominican Republic, where he lives. “(Another friend) is crossing and he has not passport and he is from Jimani and me, too,” Miguel said. “Why he may cross and I cannot?
“Always God makes changes in our life and our plan. When that happen, often we are not able to understand it and we still want to keep our head against God like Balaam and his donkey (Numbers 22:22).”
In response to this, Miguel will drive out of his way to cross into Haiti at another place. He is going Thursday for our monthly seminary Saturday in Thoman. After the seminary, he hopes to hike up to Gentilhomme to check on the building project and worship there Sunday.
The body of believers at Gentilhomme.
On the different road to Haiti, Miguel will look for those to evangelize. We have re-set our goal in Haiti to go where there are no churches, to start bodies of believers, to bring people to Christ, to disciple believers, and to fight voodoo.
“Pray and wait in God as I’ll do it too,” Miguel said.
We continue to wait for another organization, which specializes in water projects, to visit our villages to determine if they can work with us. This has been delayed for many months because they are likewise understaffed and underfunded to meet the needs in Haiti.
The challenges in Haiti are great, but our God is greater.
Wednesday, July 4
Pastor Trezin from the original Climbing For Christ church at Gentilhomme speaking at the start of the June seminary.
Twenty-three pastors and church leaders attended the monthly seminary for June, held on Saturday, June 30 in Thoman. The lesson was a follow-up to the teaching that the Mission: Haiti team provided on evangelism and discipleship at our Monte Pou Kris seminary conference in March.
CLICK HERE for “Mission Moments” January to June.