Haitian churches keep on, despite great need

By January 18, 2011

Haiti (MNN) — It's been one year since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, destroying a nation already mired in poverty. In 35 seconds, a shaken nation saw more change spiritually than at any other time in the country's history. Unfortunately, those 35 seconds took a church infrastructure that's still trying to recover.

Pastor Jean-Claude Esther, or "Pastor Johnny," says his church is just one example of utter destruction. "We've lost our church ministry building and everything that was there."

Pastor Johnny says, "We have lost all the sound equipment, all the pews and benches, the school buildings, sewing machines for our vocational schools, teaching materials for our language school, lab equipment, medical equipment, everything."

While the lives of his immediate family were spared, Pastor Johnny says many in his church were impacted by the quake. "From all the 150 people that make up the church, everyone suffered some kind of loss — buildings, activities, businesses, relatives or an important family member."

His church, The Praise and Worship Center, is still functioning. "Presently, they're gathering in my residence in a room where we can seat about 30 people. That's where we do prayer cell groups and intercessory prayers. At the same time, we go to the tent cities for Bible studies and different spots where our people are gathered."

Pastor Johnny says this is common practice for churches who lost their buildings in the quake.

While many of the buildings are gone, that hasn't stopped a move of the Holy Spirit, says Pastor Johnny. "Let me tell you: there is a spirit of revival that is very prevalent in Haiti right now. A lot of people who never knew God are confessing their faith for the first time. So, we had an increase of 30 to 35 percent rushing to be under God's protection at this time."

Pastor Johnny says this has been unprecedented. "In 35 seconds, it changed the whole mindset of the whole country. They forgot about all their differences in society [including] politically. Everyone was crying, 'Jesus save us!'"

Most of them are still in churches today. Even voodoo worshippers are now confessing Christ. "If you go to Laogon, the voodoo temples are gone. Some [people] are still reluctant to [believe] the Gospel, but a lot of them have confessed to the Lord as their personal Savior."

Pastor Johnny is a part of a larger network of churches, all of whom are in need of assistance. Your partnership with one of these churches could do a lot to see even more people come to Christ. "Whether it's an aspirin, a farming tractor, a shovel, trowel, a wheel barrow, a concrete roof, a bag of cement, whatever you can do — Bibles, food, anything is welcome. We need partners all over the world who wants to lend us a hand to make a difference. This is time to rebuild Haiti."

If you'd like to help Pastor Jean Claude Esther, call him at +509 3 7 97 28 35 or via [email protected]

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