Archives For Haiti

Part 1: Relief and Development
Part 2: Incarnational Mission | Word and Deed | Responsibility and Sovereignty

In this final part of my reflections of integral mission from the life of Jesus, I want to turn once more to Luke 9:1-17 for some further observations related to the church. We see from the feeding of the multitude that Jesus had a plan and a people. He had provision and power to do all that was needed to see that the people were cared for and utterly satisfied.

STRATEGIC & SUPERNATURAL

When Jesus went about feeding the multitude, it is interesting that before He performed the miracle, He instructed His disciples to have the people to sit down in groups of 50. Seems like an unnecessary detail Luke included, no? Well, actually I find it really beneficial for integral mission. Jesus could have feed 20,000 in an unhelpful sea of chaos and confusion, but instead He chose a method that would best serve the people and make the greatest impact. I don’t want to read too much into this observation, but I believe it is accurate to say that this represents a strategic plan. Following this strategy came the supernatural work of God.

There are some who might think that strategic thinking and planning is unspiritual. Some may argue that it leads to pragmatism or doing work without God. While that is possible, simply because it has led some to pragmatism does not necessarily mean that it causes it. In fact, those working in difficult situations must have a strategic plan in place or the work will fall apart on its own. Having said that, we should pray and believe God to do what only He can do. He puts us in desperate situations where, if He does not come through, we are sunk. If you are not in a place where you are desperate and dependent on the sovereign, supernatural work of God, then you are in the wrong place.

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In my first post, I shared how Jesus demonstrated integral mission by balancing and affirming relief and development in His earthly ministry. Drawing from the same text (Luke 9:1-17), I want to continue with more observations for integral mission from the life and ministry of Jesus.

INCARNATIONAL MISSION

God sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins. God also sent His Son to dwell among us (John 1:14) so that we could see His glory. In Luke 9, we find Jesus in a desolate place among scores of people with all kinds of needs. While it may be easy to overlook this, let us not play it down. Jesus made Himself accessible to everyone in society, especially those on the margins. He was accessible and approachable, even for those who could not walk (the lame) and those who could not be touched (the lepers). Even those in the grave were not beyond the scope of Jesus’ reach!

Jesus had a plan. It was to pour into His disciples. Yet the multitudes pressed in on Him. What would He do? Would he tell them to get in a line and schedule an appointment with one of His disciples? According to Luke 9:11, Jesus welcomed them. He welcomed them because He was with them. He was with them because He was for them.

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As many of you know, I lead The Haiti Collective, an organization focused on bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poorest country in the Western hemisphere by empowering indigenous churches to make disciples, train leaders, plant churches, and care for orphans in their midst. The needs are massive, even four years after the devastating earthquake. It can be argued (rather easily, I might add) that the needs are even greater now, after attempts of intervention have hurt the economic stability of an already fragile world. Needless to say, careful thinking about unintended consequences when doing relief and development work is critical to any long term success.

I am grateful for books like When Help Hurts and The Poverty of Nations that have come out from a biblical worldview of helping the poor. However, there is still a lot of tension when it comes to relief and development. Those I know who take When Helping Hurts seriously are so concerned about the possibility of hurting that they don’t attempt to help much at all. So the question comes – what hurts the people more? Not doing anything at all in fear of possibly hurting them by what you do, or making substantive, strategic efforts to make a big impact, knowing that you will likely hurt in ways you could not fully prevent?

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THC-Logo_VertThree weeks ago, a team of 16 from The Haiti Collective traveled to Haiti for a week-long mission endeavor. Every year, we host a network-wide Bible conference in a hotel, which brings in 65 pastors, deacons, and orphan school teachers. This year, the focus was on the primacy and sufficiency of Scripture for life and ministry. God put an amazing team together with a team of eight pastors from five different states delivering 12 messages and six panel discussions. We also gave away two books by John Piper in French (The Passion of Jesus Christ and Dangerous Duty of Delight), thanks to another supporting church’s generosity.

In addition to the Bible conference, we did conducted a medical and dental clinic in three of our churches in Haiti (Desarmes, Drouin, and Saint-Marc). Over $$16,000 free dental care was provided alone through the dental team, which included a dentist serving with the navy and hygienist/admin from Grace Baptist Church. For the medical team, we were blessed to have with us on this trip a doctor who is the chief of surgery at Walter Reed Medial Hospital (Bethesda, MD) as well as a former top domestic advisor serving under the Bush administration. Along with the medical and dental care during the week, we also we able to provide deworming medication for all 1,600 orphans in our 13 churches in Haiti. God providentially connected our team to a pharmacist in Canada who donated over $8000 worth of vitamins to supplement the deworming medication so that all of the orphans can have a strong recovery from the cleansing of all worms, whether from their intestines or on their skin.

This particular trip was a big undertaking with many other various initiatives, including enhancing microbusiness, facilitating vision trip for potential church partnerships with Haiti Collective, and consolidating community reform opportunities with education, health care, and family life. I am so grateful for this wonderful team God put together for this trip!

Below is a little video one of our team members made of the trip. We showed this last Sunday night at Grace in our mission report. God is doing great things, more than I could have ever imagined when this all began two years ago. If you would like to know more about The Haiti Collective, be sure to check out our website or follow us on Facebook. If you are a pastor or church leader and would like to discuss the possibility of getting connected with The Haiti Collective in the future, hit me up here or on my contact form.

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One of the great joys I have in leading The Haiti Collective is the opportunity to provide instruction and encouragement to ministry leaders across Haiti through our network of churches. Theological education, pastoral training, and church reformation are massive needs in third-world countries, and Haiti is no exception.

Next month, over 60 pastors, deacons, and orphan school teachers from across our 13 churches in Haiti will come together for our third annual 3-day conference. We are excited to have a team of 10 pastors from five states going down to pour the Word of God into these leaders! The focus this year is on the nature and importance of Scripture for life and ministry. It is our hope and prayer that one of the key distinguishing aspects of our churches and their leadership is a deep love for God’s Word and commitment to preach, teach, and live it out!

This indigenous network of church leaders coming to the conference requires financial support from partners of THC. These men and women have invested their lives in leading local churches, all of which at this point are unable to financially support their leadership teams. Without the generous assistance of others through THC, these leaders simply would not be able to travel across the country and have the opportunity of receiving three days of intensive instruction and encouragement from God’s Word.

This upcoming Haitian Bible Conference will take place January 7-9, 2013, and we ask for your prayers as our team of ten pastors are actively preparing their messages. We also ask that you consider investing in the theological education of these church leaders by giving a year-end financial gift which will help cover the cost of travel and hotel accommodations for men and women hungry to know God’s Word. To do that, we need to raise $8,750 by the end of 2012, and with your help we believe we can reach that goal!

No gift is too great or small. We seriously and sincerely appreciate all the support from you who believe in the work we are doing in Haiti. For there to be long-term reformation and revival in Haiti, it begins with a serious investment of the Word of God into leaders of churches. We long to see that happen, and with these small beginnings, we believe God will use them for His glory.

To give online, simply click on the link below.

If you would like to write a check, you can make it out to “The Haiti Collective” and mail to the following address:

The Haiti Collective
Attn: Bible Conference
P.O. Box 150064
Cape Coral, FL 33915

Thank you for joining us in stewarding this open door God has provided to train church leaders in Haiti!

2012 Bible Conference

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2011 Bible Conference

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Photos from Haiti

Tim Brister —  August 10, 2012 — Leave a comment

I created a Flickr album of pictures I took with my iPhone while in Haiti. I have spent a considerable amount of time this week following up with folks wanting to learn more about what we are doing in Haiti. You can find a lot of information on The Haiti Collective website, but if there are specific questions that I could answer, let me know via the contact form.

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Regulars here will know the amazing providence of God in forging a partnership with an indigenous network of church plants in Haiti under the direction of Odanis Joseph, whom God placed in our church family after the devastating earthquake in 2010.  Over the past two years, we have provided immediate relief to orphans, formed partnerships with domestic churches, held multiple conferences and seminars for theological education, and helped rebuild structures destroyed by the earthquake.

If 2010 was the year marked by an earthquake, 2011 was the year marked by disease, namely cholera.  Many of the churches are located in the region most severely affected by cholera, and this has resulted in even more orphaned children.  As of this month, the 13 churches in our network are daily caring for 1,572 orphans.

Our church stepped up after seeing the need for relief by providing a food supply and delivery system for all the children for this year (2011).  As this year began coming to a close, we realized the need has surpassed our ability to supply, and furthermore, we sensed a strong urgency to provide clean, safe drinking water for these children so that illness and death would not occur due to preventable diseases.

All of 1,572 orphans are under the direction of a local church and not only provided food and family structure but also education through orphans schools in the churches.  Neither the churches or the orphan schools have been funded through outside sources; however, the result has been woefully inadequate supply of resources and inability to support the teachers investing in the next generation without any compensation in return.

Recognizing these realities, we have sought to meet the three most basic needs of these orphans–food, clean water, and education–for  an entire year with the help of supporting churches, families, and friends.  These orphans and churches who are caring for them have no voice outside our ministry, and as a matter of stewardship, we want to make it known believing God is going to move upon the hearts of His people to generously give to these precious, needy children in Haiti.

Below is an info graphic of what Libere 2012 is all about. For the next 40 days, we are asking God to provide $65,000 to cover the basic needs of all 1,572 orphans for the next year (2012).  Here’s a summary:

We have partnered with Sawyer with the goal of providing 300 of their Point One Filtration Systems for these churches and communities.  For just $50, a family of ten can have a daily supply of safe drinking water, good for ten years.  For $400, an entire orphan school can be suited with clean, filtered drinking water for the children and workers.  Without the need of electricity or generators, these filters can be used just about anywhere, and we are excited to put them to use in these churches and orphan schools.

Would you consider supporting Libere 2012 with a donation?  I have never been one to ask publicly for your support, but this is a time and a cause that is heavy on my heart.  This time of year, I know many families are looking for opportunities to give rather than receive, and what better gift can you give a child than to know they will not worry about whether they will have a meal to eat or if the water they drink might lead to illness or death?  More than toys or dolls or games, these children need an opportunity to live and thrive in one of the poorest, most desperate places in the world.

If you would like to know more about Libere 2012, I will be blogging throughout the 40 Day Challenge at The Haiti Collective (our website dedicated to ministry in Haiti).  There you can also download images, learn about the churches, and get regular updates on how the challenge is being met by God’s people.

You can donate to Libere 2012 via major credit card or PayPal by clicking here: 

Church leaders, if you are interested in having your church “adopt” one of the 13 Haitian churches by donating $5,000, please let me know.  This will cover the food supply and deliver, water filtration systems, and education for an entire year for one church.  Already a couple of church leaders are pursuing this opportunity, and I would love to talk with others of you about it as well.

Thanks for allowing me to share this need with you.  Our hope is that, as we help alleviate the immediate pressure of survival, greater development in the community and the church can occur for greater self-sufficiency and long-term health.  May God own our efforts to love our Haitian brothers and sisters and care for the least of these among us!

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This past week, I had the privilege of taking a team from Bowling Green, KY to Haiti to partner with a church in Saint-Marc, Haiti (here’s a satellite image of the mountain village where the church gathers).  This was my third trip to Haiti in the past 9 months since we started our mission work under the direction of Pastor Joseph.  This trip was particularly significant because (1) it was the first trip where all the efforts were directly invested in one local church and (2) it was the first trip involving another church from the United States partnering with us (Grace Baptist Church).

God continues to bless and open doors for us in Haiti.  A year ago, I would not believed you had you told me I would be in Haiti three times.  Nine months ago, I did not know Christ Fellowship Bowling Green and only had brief correspondence with one of their pastors (Lance Parrott).  Since then, they have not only joined us in Haiti, but I feel like we have become genuine partners and co-laborers in gospel ministry in ways that only God could make possible.  I believe this is just the beginning of the kind of things God is doing to take the gospel in word and deed to this needy country.

Outside the pastors, everyone who went on the trip last week had their first cross-cultural missions experience, and they all did a wonderful job representing Christ in a rather challenging context and climate.  The church in Saint-Marc has amazing leadership, and their hospitality demonstrated towards us was truly humbling.  Every time I’m among the believers in these churches I feel like they have so much to teach me (and they always do!).

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Haiti Bound

Tim Brister —  June 20, 2011 — Leave a comment

This morning, I’m leaving for my third trip to Haiti.  In case you’re wondering about how my relationship with Haiti got started, these posts will give you a good idea.  I’m particularly excited about this trip for two reasons:

1.  This is the first trip where I will be leading a team from another church to partner with the indigenous network of church plants in Haiti under the direction of Pastor Odanis Joseph.  The team is from Christ Fellowship Church in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and they are led by Pastors Lance Parrott and Jody Sledge.  Part of the vision with The Haiti Collective is to develop meaningful partnerships with American churches and Haitian churches, and CFBG is the first to take up the opportunity of joining us in Haiti.  Our field personnel is all Haitian pastors and church planters, and the work is raw, robust, and richly rewarding. 🙂

2.  We tailor the work we are doing based on the requests of leaders on the field, in particular pastors of the local church plant we will be ministering.  We will be working with a church plant in Saint-Marc, and the leaders’ request were (1) to assist them in advancing the gospel through community evangelism, (2) provide theological education of their leaders, and (3) join them in caring for their 100+ orphans in their orphan school. So that is exactly what we’re going to do.  In the morning block, we will be working with the orphans in the school; in the afternoon block, our team will partner with church members and translators to canvas the community with the gospel; also in the afternoon, Lance, Jody and I will be holding a six-session training for  pastors and church leaders on biblical ecclesiology (nature, purpose, marks, ordinances, leadership, discipline, etc.); and in the evening, we will be hosting evangelistic rallies each night where we will be preaching the gospel to any and everyone who will hear (like all good Calvinists do).

So together, we will be loving on orphans, training pastors on biblical church health, evangelizing the community, and preaching the gospel every evening.  YES.

Pray for us. Five of the seven going from CFBG are on their first mission trip overseas.  Haiti will ruin them (in a good way).  Pray for kingdom partnerships and gospel advance, safety from cholera and other diseases, and strength to endure under the summer heat and rainy season.  I look forward to coming back and reporting on what God will do this week.  I will likely be providing update via Facebook and Twitter (but not the blog).

And if you would like to learn more about working to encourage, strengthen, and serve gospel-centered Haitian church plants, holla.

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Off to Haiti

Tim Brister —  January 3, 2011 — Leave a comment

For the next ten days, I will be with 8 other men from Grace working in Haiti to train 50 Haitian pastors in a gospel conference and rebuild a church building destroyed in the earthquake.  For those of you not aware of the back story, read these blogposts (here, here, and here).  Pastor Joseph, our Haitian leader, was raised in the church in Desarmes whose building was destroyed, and more tragically, in which his father (the church’s pastor) died.  We will also build the first part of a multi-level orphanage.  In all, there are 130 orphans in this church alone.

I have created a website dedicated to our work in Haiti.  There you can find updates about our work, including photos feed from Flickr RSS, and new developments in our growing partnership in Haiti.  We are excited about God’s providence over the past year and the opportunities that lie before us.  For those interested, here are some blogposts related to this particular trip:

» 13 Ways to Pray for Our Haitian Team
» Chérir Christ Bible Conférence (schedule)
» What We Will Be Doing in Haiti
» Packing Up for Haiti
» Bibles for Haitian Orphans

Please pray for us as we hope bring the hope of the gospel in word and deed to Haitians who have suffered so much.  Our desire is to encourage, renew, equip, and revive the hearts of our Haitian brothers and sisters to advance the kingdom and spread the good news of Jesus Christ.

NB: For those in Partnering to Remember, I have scheduled blogposts for the time I will be away to encourage you in your memory moleskine.  Keep treasuring God’s Word!

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