(This is a blog post to sum up my thoughts and excitement from my Haiti trip last week. This post is written for my Mom and Dad because they made my trip happen and I want to honor them with a recap of events. You can read it if you want, but just know that if your name isn’t Ron or Jeanne you are merely my secondary audience. Thanks Mom and Dad!)
Up until a week ago the only time I had ever left the United States was to venture to an IGA super market slightly into Quebec Canada north of Vermont to buy groceries for the Operation Barnabas team I led in 2005. I know what you’re thinking and I don’t count that either, so basically I was 31 and had never left the USA and that is not ok. Lucky for me Movement Church just started a church-to-church partnership with CPR-3 so I finally had a good reason to get a passport and cross leaving the country off of my bucket list.
I love the concept of partnership. We are partnering with a pastor in Haiti who will plant a church and bring relief to his area. I wrote a blog entry here about why I was excited about this partnership and why it was a fit philosophically for us as a church. I love this concept because we aren’t just putting a Band-Aid on problems but we are strategically taking the gospel (spiritual relief) and physical relief to an area through a church. The local church is God’s plan to redeem the world so we want to always have our efforts anchored there.
PASTOR PATRICK ALEXIS
A personal highlight of the trip for me was getting meet our partner pastor Patrick Alexis. We had received a profile of him and connected on Facebook before we got there, but its always magic to meet someone in person. I felt like I was meeting a long lost brother. As a church planter I know what it going through his mind. It was so cool to talk about our own insecurity, the way Satan attacks us and God’s faithfulness and provision. Patrick has a great story of how God has saved him and called him to ministry and our team loved spending time with him. Most of the time we used a translator, but his English is not terrible so we had some great one on one moments connecting and hanging out. I got to attend his Sunday prayer (launch team) meeting that he has started for his church. It was only there 3rd meeting ever but the meeting I got to go to and speak at had 35 people in attendance. I had never spoke through a translator but it was so powerful to be with believers outside the United States and see the scope of the universal church.
TRIP LOGISTICS (FACILITIES)
During our trip we stayed at the CPR-3 facility in Bercy. It’s a brand new facility with sleeping rooms, a group meeting room, dining room, huge kitchen, and new shower facilities. It wasn’t a Hilton hotel, and I wasn’t expecting that, but it was very nice way above what I expected. I can recommend that everyone from our church go on a trip knowing they won’t be sleeping on a dirt floor or sleeping in a mosquito infested field….not that those things should effect our commitment to Haiti but you know what I mean. You will be cared for on your trip and from the scheduling of tap taps (Haitian Taxi) to traveling with translators, every aspect of your trip has been planned to perfection long before you step off the plane. I love having that piece of mind as I recommend this trip.
Another personal highlight for our team was connecting with the staff at CPR-3. The highest compliment I can pay them is that 1) I want to be their friends 2) I loved spending time with them and learning from them 3) I would love to hire them.
On a personal note, one staff member, Amanda Damon was a student on the OB team that Kristin and I lead in 2005. It was great to see someone that we spent a summer pouring into doing such great ministry. She committed to go into full-time ministry that summer and it was a blessing to see the fruition of that not only effecting my church but having an impact around the world.
This was our first visit to Haiti and as Patrick plants a church and we come alongside him I am excited to send back other groups of people to encourage him and support his efforts. We want to send a medical group next. God has put us very close to a clinic that CPR-3 has partnered with that would make it very easy to do a top notch clinic right in Total. We also have several medical professionals in our church from nurses, nurse practioners, dentists, and doctors that I think God has positioned us for great impact. We are also looking to send down our band as music is a huge part of Haitian culture and the church and they would be able to do some great things by way of large events to help gather for the church.
It was a blessing to leave the country for the first time.
It was a blessing to travel with our team of 10 and pioneer what this partnership will look like.
It was a blessing to meet Patrick and find friendship with someone in another country.
I am greatly looking forward to the impact Movement Church can have in Haiti in the future.