However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.
Acts 20:24
Wings For The Word
"Delivering Hope To People In Remote Places"

  


Les Cayes, Haiti
 
Thank you so much for your prayers and enormous support for this mission trip through partnering to bring pure water and the love of Christ to Haiti.  A big thank you to David Pfeffer and Casey Jones after a very successful mission trip to Les Cayes, Haiti.

The mission trip had three primary objectives:
1. Deliver and install 15 Khlor Gen water purification systems in the area surrounding Les Cayes. Teach the Haitians how to use the systems to purify water while sharing the love of Christ.

2. Deliver medical supplies for outlying medical clinics.

3. Assess the potential for future partnerships with God-honoring, Bible-oriented local missions in the area of Les Cayes that have well defined missions and needs.

Flying to Haiti
God blessed this mission trip beyond our wildest imaginations. We departed Jacksonville, FL on Sunday, 23 March in a light twin aircraft, loaded down with water purification systems and medical supplies. We arrived in Haiti on Monday after refueling in Fort Lauderdale and overnighting on Great Exuma in the Bahamas. Pre-positioning in the Bahamas allowed us to fly into Haiti early Monday morning before any weather hit and provided us an afternoon of relaxation in preparation for the week ahead. We arrived into Port-Au-Prince to clear customs in the morning. Much to our surprise, customs was a breeze, and didn’t charge us a dime for flying in the water purification systems or medical supplies! We cleared customs and refueled within an hour of landing and departed to the port town of Les Cayes. We crossed the mountain ridge to the North at 9,500 ft before turning westbound to Les Cayes. Air traffic control was a bit of a joke, but we arrived into the small airport of Les Cayes without issue. We had difficulties contacting our partner for the week, Pastor Ingace of Bethanie Mission, in Port-Au-Prince by phone so had opted to fly to Les Cayes and try again there. We had the same dialing problems grace of God, an English/Creole-speaking pilot happened to land at this little remote airport at the same time as we did. He saw our problem and was able to find a phone and make a few calls in Creole to contact Pastor Ignace. We thanked our new pilot friend as he left and Pastor Ignace arrived just a few minutes later.

Bethanie Evangelical Mission
Bethanie Mission is a bible-based mission founded by Pastor Ingace Augustin in 1975. God lead us to partner with Pastor Ingace through our friends at Wings For the Word, who had partnered with Pastor to bring water purification systems to Haiti in the past. Bethanie mission has been blessed like crazy over the last 39 years and has expanded from a simple church plant aimed to show the Haitians the love of Christ, to a series of 65 Churches, 7 schools, 2 medical clinics, 2 orphanages, and a bible school for training pastors, still with the same mission! God has clearly flexed on Bethanie mission over the years, but there is a tremendous need to support the mission, especially as it has expanded. We were humbled to be a very small part of the mission for a week. It’s very clear after working with them that Bethanie Mission is following the Great Commission as they bring Christ into the Haitian community and produce disciple making disciples.

Pastor Ingace Augustin
Pastor Ingace has an incredible testimony that we were able to sit down and share over many nights while on mission. Pastor grew up in a town, not far outside of Les Cayes, that practiced witchcraft and Voodoo (as many Haitians do). Pastor became involved in Voodoo and practiced it, as well as Catholicism, but the focus was never on Christ. He knew there was something moresomething better in life than the way he was living, but he didn’t know what it was. One of his friends finally convinced him to attend a protestant prayer meeting where he heard the Gospel for the first time in a way that really moved him in a powerful way. Pastor fought his calling to become a pastor for some time, but eventually his heart was softened and he received an invitation to attend seminary in the United States. Pastor Ingace was the first African American to graduate from Bethanie Bible College in 1974. He spent 6 months between the Puerto Rico and the Bahamas in “on the job” missionary training after college prior to arriving back in Haiti with only $200 to his name. He prayed and prayed, then used the $200 to build a very small gathering place that became the launching point for many Churches to come. Pastor Ingace is a church planter on fire for Jesus. It was exceptionally humbling and inspiring to work with a man who has such a strong devotion to the Lord. Jesus is Lord of his life, and it showed in every conversation we had through the week. His testimony- not just how he became a Christian, but how he has obediently responded to the Gospel- drew us to want to partner with him in God’s mission in the future. But more on that later…

Hosanna House
Pastor Ingace and his wife Franchette picked us up from the airport and brought us to their guest home for us to get settled in Monday afternoon. We had planned on roughing it with our accommodations for the week, but were pleasantly surprised when the 12 foot gate at the front of the property was rolled back to reveal a gorgeous house! Our home for the week was Hosanna House, a 3-story guest house built over the last 19 years to house traveling missionaries. The house itself has a great faith story, and is still under construction. Pastor smiled every time he spoke about it, stressing that every bit of the house had been (and will be) built on faith. Many small sections of the house have been built over the years. The original house has been added on to as God has provided the funds through many unexpected means. Today, two full stories are operational. The guesthouse has 25 bedrooms (most with small private bathrooms) that can house approximately 50 people. The downstairs dining area is large enough to seat 50 comfortably on long hand-crafted tables and chairs, and the kitchen is big enough to cook for a large group. Franchette and some of the senior children from the orphanage cooked delicious breakfasts and dinners for us daily, and even packed us lunch each day we were on the road delivering the purifiers. We had plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and Haitian cooked meat (primarily turkey and goat). The remaining third story of the house has yet to be completed. The perimeter, roof, and rooms have all been framed with concrete block, but that is about it. Pastor just smiles and says it’ll be finished when God needs it.

Distribution of the Water Purification Systems
The majority of the week was spent instructing eight different communities how to use the water purification units. We began Monday evening with prayer and a meeting with Pastor Ingace. We agreed the purifiers would serve the communities best by providing them to the pastors of eight different Bethanie mission churches between Les Cayes and the Caribbean Sea-side community of Prot-a-Piment that had great needs. The Pastors would then use the systems to help the community, providing them means of pure water while bring them to the Church to teach about the Living Water, spreading the Gospel.

We spent our time traveling to each community and teaching the pastors how to use the water purification systems. We traveled with our driver, John Marie, and our translator, Junior. The Haitian population speaks Creole; the more educated Haitians speak French as well as Creole. Many of the children in the Bethanie Mission schools were being taught English. The kids often liked to test their new English skills talking to us, then would run away shy. Junior had graduated from a Bethanie Mission school and had graduated from a Haitian university. He spoke creole, French, and English. The pastors we worked with were all educated and understood how to use the systems well after instruction. The pictorial instructions that visually showed how to use the systems was a huge help (the illiteracy rate in Haiti is >80%). One of our friends spent countless hours creating Ikea-like color pictorial instructions so we could provide them with the purifier systems. We laminated the instructions and left multiple copies with each unit as a reminder after we had provided the hands-on training. The goal was to ensure the purifiers would be sustainable at least 5 years after we left.

Our very first stop on Tuesday was in Cavaillon at Pastor Mario’s church, school, and medical clinic. All the school children came rushing out to watch us work with Pastor to create the chlorine used to purify the water. We got the opportunity to play with the children for a while and toured the medical clinic to determine what medical supplies to leave them and determine the needs for future mission trips. There was a LOT of need. The medical clinic was a great resource, but was lacking many supplies required to be more effective, including reliable power. We spent the first 30 minutes at the school working on the electrical extensions and generator to power the lab for their morning appointments. We spoke to the nurses as they had time. They gratefully agreed to write us a list of their biggest needs, which was primarily medicine and antibiotics.

Over the next few days, we traveled to the villages of Sucrerie Henry, St. Louis, Flamond, Beree, Bagon, Baedimel, Roche Delmas, and Prot-a-Piment teaching the pastors how to operate the purification systems. We distributed a total of 15 units. Some community pastors were provided more than one based on the size of the community and the need. All of these villages were unique, but the common thread was Christ. Every pastor we met was just on fire for Jesus! It was surprising to be honest, and incredibly humbling. We expected to be the ones sharing the Word, but the reality was these pastors poured into us through their excitement. They have nothing from a worldly point of view, but they have Jesus, and they knew God would provide for their needs. 

One of the most colorful pastors we met was Pastor Richemonc Civil. The church he serves was planted in the ocean-side community of St. Louis, an area well known for extensive Vodoo. The church was significantly opposed by the community initially. The local witch doctor attempted to kill Pastor Civil many times, but he didn’t stop preaching the Gospel. Today, Pastor Civil holds church services DAILY to accommodate everyone in the community, and 3 times on Sunday! He routinely travels up into the mountains during the day to preach in the even more remote villages. In addition to being such an awesome witness, he also had the best quote for the week. When we reacted shockingly surprised to the fact that he held church services every day, he laughed and said “We don’t give the devil no rest around here!” Indeed they don’t!

Orphanages, Schools, Churches, and Medical Clinics
Nearly every Bethanie Mission church we visited was paired with a school, some in better shape than others. The schools were founded to provide a solid education while teaching the children Faith at a young age. The children were always smiling and dressed in their uniforms. The schools are vital to spreading the Gospel in the community, but can use a lot of help. Many of the schools require help with the building structure itself, but the students require the most Pic 9: Smelling the results to ensure Chlorine is being generated Pastor Civil learning how to use the purifier. He'll be using this as another tool to ensure "the devil don't get no rest!" help (financially). While the schools are open to anyone, many parents can’t afford to send their children to school. The school itself is free, but children are still required to dress in uniform and purchase basic school supplies. While the cost is minimal, the small cost is tremendous to many families who have nothing. The students would significantly benefit from sponsors for uniforms and school supplies. A scholarship program could enable families to send their children to school when they otherwise couldn’t afford it.

The church buildings were mostly constructed of concrete frame with corrugated aluminum roofs (the normal Haitian building manufacturing). There were absolutely needs for building restoration, but they were not the focus. For the most part, the church buildings were in good shape. Many of the pastors lived in small homes at their respective churches. There were still numerous pastors still renting homes in town close to their churches, paying upwards of $13,000/year (US) to rent. Most of the Haitians congregations are unable to donate enough to the church to sustain the Pastor’s cost of living. As a result, Bethanie Mission financially supplements the pastors, and many pastors must take second jobs as they’re able. Pastor Ignace stressed his prayer to build small homes for each of the pastors not already living on the church ground to save the expensive rent fees. One pastor in particular, Pastor Durand, in Sucrerie Henry had his own small home on the church grounds, but the home requires a second story be built for safety. The church and school Pastor Durand serves are located in the hills, adjacent to a large river fed from the mountains. The large riverbed was dry when we arrived, but will become a quick flowing river in just a few months as the rain waters pour down the mountains in the wet season. Pastor Durand was nearly killed last year in his sleep when the river flooded and filled his small house with four feet of water. Bethanie mission could certainly benefit by receiving building funds or construction help creating new homes or small additions to the existing homes for their pastors. This would give them the freedom to focus completely on their ministry of spreading the Gospel.

The medical clinics we visited were clearly meeting a huge need in the community. They were a great way to provide the medical assistance required while bringing the community to Christ. The clinics require quite a bit of help though. The shelves of medical supplies were nearly empty. Their first and foremost need was supplies- common medicine, antibiotics, and vitamins. Thanks to all those who donated the medical supplies, we were able to re-stock a number of Bethanie Mission church in Roche Delmas. Most of the Bethanie Mission churches are constructed and furnished in the same fashion Pastor Ingace standing in front of Pastor Durand's house in Sucrerie Henry. The water floods 4ft high into the house when the river overflows items onto their shelves, but the lack of remaining supplies was immense. There is a huge need to bring in additional medical supplies. They’re also in need of doctors and nurses willing to spend a week at a time on mobile medical trips up into the villages that aren’t often reached.

The orphanages touched our hearts the most. Bethanie mission has planted two orphanages since 2004. We had the opportunity to visit one of them in Les Cayes. Bethanie Mission partnered with Lighthouse for His Lambs, Inc to fund the start to this particular orphanage in 2004. When we arrived, the children literally ran to us and stood in line to give us a hug and kiss to say hello. They were exceptionally well behaved. Most of the children at the orphanage were simply given up by their parents who couldn’t afford them when they were very young. Most Haitian children in this situation would have ended up on the street or working practically as slaves in others households. The children we met were between the ages of 3-18. They all go to school during the day, then play and study back at the house at night. The orphanage is conveniently located within walking distance of the Hosanna house. As we walked over to the orphanage, Pastor Ignace and his wife Franchette told us how dearly the orphanage meant to them and explained that the orphanage was not just a place to raise children, but a place that would enable the kids to grow into mature, educated Christian adults. Every child went to school locally in Les Cayes at one of the Bethanie Mission schools. This enables the children to then go on to trade schools, seminary, or university after they graduate. Two of the brightest children who grew up in the orphanage now live at the Hosanna house, helping with chores and cooking as they attend their Philosophical class (the equivalent of the year after high school). We spent time with one of the boys, Evans, who had learned to speak English exceptionally well- better than our translator even! There is unquestionably a great need for assistance with the orphanages. They’re constantly turning down accepting new children due to a shortage of beds and supplies at the Les Cayes orphanage. They’re in great need of single bed mattresses, sheets, pillows, towels, school uniforms, and a kitchen. The orphanage is run primarily by a Pastor and Christian woman who are a father and mother figure to the children (Pastor Ingace and Franchette are like grandpa and grandma). They cook for the kids in kettles in a make-shift outside kitchen that’s really no more than a fire pit with a roof. There are certainly many needs at the  orphanage, but everyone involved knows they will be provided for in God’s time on faith. It was a blessing to be able to see and play with the children to understand how critical the orphanage is to showing the love of Christ to children who were simply given away. The orphanage is undoubtedly making a huge impact on the children’s lives and the community.

Future Mission Work
We were blessed to be able to meet all the objectives of this first mission trip, but there are clearly many additional well defined needs that exist in Haiti that will take far more people and resources to address. God willing, we plan to partner with Bethanie Mission to bring additional missionaries and recourse to Les Cayes within the year to help in the following areas: 

1. We plan to continue the mission of installing water purification systems. There is a large need for pure water. We were pleased to see some church sites with wells, but there were too many Haitians still getting sick from bacteria-laced water. This portion of the mission is two-fold. We can and should continue to bring water purification units to Haiti, but should additionally raise the funds to install wells at the churches, at the cost of ~$2000/ea. In addition, there are existing wells that are not safe to drink from according to the Haitian government (who claims to have tested the water). We returned with some water samples for lab analysis in the US, but we’d like to be able to test all the water in the church wells to determine which is safe versus what should be purified. A number of water purification systems delivered on this trip are being used to treat the poor water coming out of some older wells.

2. We plan to help expand the capabilities of the orphanage to permit the acceptance of additional children. In the near term, this includes, fundraising to purchase single bed mattresses, bedding, pillows, wash towels, and school uniforms. We are working with Pastor Ignace to identify the exact needs for a kitchen at the orphanage. We have multiple individuals that are well versed in construction that can fundraise to build a simple outdoor kitchen that will meet the cooking needs of the orphanage and permit growth.

3. We plan to provide additional medical support to the clinics. We have already received a lengthy list of medical supplies requested that we have begun soliciting to fill. In addition to the medical supplies, the clinics also need skilled doctors and nurses to help short term in the clinics and provide mobile support to meet the needs of those scattered up in the mountains in the smallest villages. We would like to continue to fly medical supplies to Les Cayes and rotate a medical mission team out for 7-day trips for mobile clinic support.

We cannot begin to thank you for your partnership. Through the grace of God, you allowed this trip to happen by mentoring us and financially partnering with us. THANK YOU for trusting us with the precious resources God has blessed you with. It sincerely made a huge impact on the people affected in Haiti. Please continue to pray for Bethanie Mission and this ministry as it expands. God is really moving in big ways there. I wish we had the ability to capture that in pictures and this report, but they simply don’t do His work there justice. Thank you for letting us work side-by-side with you in God’s mission! Stay safe in Africa. We’ll continue to pray for you and your family, and most importantly that God’s will is fulfilled there. Thank you again for all you do!