Haiti (MNN) — When is basic light a luxury?
When it's in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. More
than 85% of the population lacks access to electricity.
In the years since the quake of 2010, many are still in the tent
cities. Those who fled Port-au-Prince in search of better opportunity have
found themselves less crowded but still getting along with very little in rural areas.
For many in Haiti, life stops when the sun sets. Without
light, the emerging marketplace can't stay open after dark. Without light, children who go to school can't
do their lessons at night. Without light, crime (particularly sexual
assaults) runs rampant.
The average family spends a third of its income on kerosene for
lanterns. That poses not only a drain
financially, but also a safety hazard as the lanterns are a true fire hazard.
Bright Hope International responded directly through a church plant
in Pignon, northcentral Haiti. Last month, a Facebook Campaign invited
participants to "Like" Bright Hope's page, and in response a donor would set aside a hand-cranked
flashlight destined for Haiti.
Dyer, President of Bright Hope International, reports that as a
result of the "Like for Light"campaign, 1,418 flashlights will be donated to their
partner village in Haiti.
you ask? "It's less expensive for us to ship
things there," says Dyer. "I wish we could send these over to Africa, but that takes a lot
more money, and frankly, in these days, and times, it's just hard to get things
like that overseas. Haiti is a place
that definitely had the need."
The flashlights will be distributed later this summer through the
local church, whose members will also benefit from the portable, renewable
light source. "It's places like that where a
flashlight can be a meaningful tool. It can be a safety issue; it can be
something to read by when it gets dark earlier. It's a very practical kind of
Dyer says the church
mirrors the condition of the village. "It has no electricity, no
well. It's basically just sticks and a tarp that they throw over to meet in,
and yet they have 50 believers come there every Sunday." However, the distribution will provide a very
clear picture of the Gospel in this community, he adds. "They're being
light–the light of Christ to the community, and they're handing out physical light."
Even better, it paves the way for future discussions and Gospel
opportunities, says Dyer. "People aren't used to receiving something in these communities, so
they're not looking at it as something they'll just put away. They say, 'Wow! Thank
you for that!' and 'Why are you doing this?'" This opens the door. From there, the Gospel takes over. You
can keep praying that hearts would respond. "It's a way to connect with
people that aren't involved with any kind of relationship with Christ. Here's
an opportunity to give some practical help."
is part of a greater outreach effort by Bright Hope. Pastor
Jephthe Lucien, Bright Hope's partner, leads the work of the Jerusalem Baptist
Mission as its National Director. Since
1996, Pastor Lucien has planted 42 churches with over 4,000 members and 17
Christian schools with over 2,900 students.
economic development programs have directly impacted hundreds of families
throughout Pignon. The ministry has improved the quality of life for
thousands of people. More importantly, it has greatly strengthened the level of
Christian witness opportunities in these communities.
Thank you for your advocacy and support through "Like for
Light!" Stay tuned for more to come.