APRIL PRAYER FOCUS: Haiti – Advent Christian Churches of Haiti (ACCH)
Persistence and Patience – These two words sum up the situation for the Advent Christian Churches of Haiti. Conference President Jean-Claude Dorsainvil contacted the World Outreach office years ago seeking affiliation membership with the Advent Christian General Conference (ACGC). That was before the devastating 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti in January, 2010. During the earthquake, the ACCH lost several church structures.
One of their government’s requirements for the Conference is to establish a headquarters along with schools and medical clinics. So, the earthquake had an adverse effect on their efforts.
In addition to the headquarter building, they must also have recognition by a religious organization outside of Haiti. After Area Director John Gilbert and World Outreach Director Jeff Walsh’s site visit to Haiti to meet with several of the AC pastors and leaders, a recommendation was made by Director Walsh to the ACGC Executive Council to receive the ACCH as an affiliated member of our outreach ministry. This affiliation was approved at the 2014 AC Triennial Conference.
However, progress towards the governmental recognition remains slow in Haiti because of the poverty. In 2016, a short-term work team led by the Vernon, Vermont Advent Christian Church began the task of building the foundation for the headquarters facility in the area of Fort Liberate in the northern part of the country near the Dominican Republic border.
Then in October, 2016, another natural disaster struck Haiti. This time in the form of a hurricane. Hurricane Matthew devastated the southern part of the island including several of our AC churches. This region had still not recovered from the earthquake and diseases such as cholera and typhoid were still not under control. A few local resources and financial assistance from ACGC was channeled to help with food and shelter for the churches and their members. In the words of President Pastor Jean-Claude: “We ask you to pray for the brothers and sisters of the Haitian churches of Pastor Louis Juste, Pastor Remy Bernade, on the side of Moron, Jérémie, Cayes, Nippe, who continue to live in deplorable and lamentable conditions since the passage of Hurricane Matthew. Many continue to sleep under tents made of coconut straw or a plastic carpet. The brothers and sisters are in the infrahuman [inhumane] situation.”
It is difficult to make noticeable progress toward the goal of national recognition while all you can do is help people stay alive in their poverty. Back to the first two words, persistence and patience. The ACCH has demonstrated so much of both in many ways. They have been patient with us in the U.S. as we work on understanding the need and they have been faithful to God after two large natural disasters, seeing their people in hard and unimaginable situations. Sometimes not knowing for weeks who is alive, who is dead, who needs help or who needs aid the most.
In spite of all the setbacks, trials and oppressive situations, the Haitian AC pastors endure and do all they can to move forward. Why? Because they know that although the Roman Catholic Church is the state religion, the majority of the people believe in and practice voodoo. Many Haitians also think they can follow Catholic, Protestant and Haitian Voodoo at the same time. Winning the Haitian people for Christ is the motivation for the perseverance and patience.
We have an obligation to support our Haitian brothers and sisters in prayer for strength – physically and spiritually, for vision and discernment in moving forward toward their goals of recognition and for their continued faithfulness in reaching the lost for Christ. And that we can continue to be the best partner in our faith with ACCH in methods that help without hurting or taking away from the self-reliance of the ACCH or its leadership.
- Just as you pray for your country, pray for Haiti that their government will be led by Christian nationals who will influence their country.
- Pray for the right workers and programs to assist Haiti and that assistance will not cause harm instead of good.
- Pray for our Haitian AC pastors that through their love for the Lord others will find hope in Him and many lives will be transformed.
- Pray for Conference President Jean-Claude as he seeks the Lord’s strength and wisdom that he may remain diligent and patient.