Haiti (BHM/MNN) — Things are changing in Haiti.
96% of Haiti’s population claims to be Christian. Very few of those who make this claim have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ or know what it means to live according to his teachings. Voodoo, on the other hand, is practiced by roughly half of the Haitian population, making it the dominant religion.
Voodoo offers illusions of power and is used to control the masses by mistrust and fear. In April of 2003, an executive decree by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide sanctioned voodoo as an officially recognized religion.
Since the quake of 2010, things have begun changing. Ron Sparks with Baptist Haiti Mission says, “One of the exciting things that we’ve seen since the earthquake a few years ago is how many of the churches have had more of an organized evangelistic outreach.” Spiritual revivals were reported by the thousands. Haiti began to look different.
As the country changes, so do ministries there. Baptist Haiti Mission has a number of new things this year: new leadership, new vision, but same ministry. First, the leadership: “The past ten years, Rob Baker has done a tremendous job as we’ve gone through a time of transition, providing the kind of spiritual leadership and vision for moving forward that we really needed there at Baptist Haiti Mission,” explains Sparks. However, “He now has stepped away from that position, and Chris Lieb who has been our director of youth ministries is now our new field director.”
The primary goal of BHM has been to bring individual people to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Now, with new leadership, it was time to streamline the approach: serve, disciple, and develop. “I think if there’s a shift or a change, “Sparks observes, “it is really strengthening and increasing the spiritual impact, while continuing the other areas, whether it’s the medical or the education or the child sponsorship, or whatever it may be.”
In service, BHM’s hospital, clinics, and medical outreaches seek to serve the medical needs of the people of Haiti, while the employment that Mountain Maid provides for local artisans and families serve their economic needs. They serve people’s physical needs by aiding in the construction and repair of houses and churches. These are just a few examples of how BHM ministries are serving others.
Education is a strong base on which discipleship can be built upon. How does that connect with discipleship? Relationships. BHM works with over 350 elementary schools to provide a Biblical education for the children of Haiti. BHM also runs youth camps designed to equip the youth of Haiti in faith to better contribute to their churches and communities. These are just a few examples of how BHM ministries are encouraging discipleship.
Each summer, BHM sponsors a four-year program designed to train laity in the local church. It’s called the Summer Bible Institute. BHM’s camp facilities also host church retreats and conferences to aid in the development of the local churches. These are just a few examples of how BHM ministries are developing the church.
And development requires a strong foundation on which to build. For more than 65 years, BHM has worked alongside the church and sought to make an impact in the hearts of the people of Haiti. “Pray for open minds and open hearts, both in the people receiving the training and following the new leadership, as well as for the leaders themselves, that they be given wisdom and patience and understanding and certainly be able to discern God’s will and His leading as we go through these times.”
BHM does it shoulder to shoulder with us and with believers in Haiti. If you’re not part of this and you want to be, click here to get involved.