When Helping Hurts – Free Audio Book!

For the month of February, you can get the audio version of the book When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett. We consider WHH a must-read for those doing work in developing countries, especially Haiti. It is has been the one resource we have those who serve on short-term mission trips to read to understand more of our philosophy of mission and why we do what we do. Getting the audio of this book will be a great way to redeem the commute or listen while exercising, doing yardwork, etc. Check it out!

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2013 Year in Review

I know we have been offline for the year, but that is not because we have been without work! In the coming weeks, we are looking to update the website more, including a little facelift. In the meantime, I thought I’d provide a little summary of what God has graciously allowed us to do this year.

Theological Education

This year, we held two national training conferences and three regional training conferences. In January, the first national conference was on God’s Word: It’s Nature and Effect in Life and Ministry. In December, the second national conference was on Behold Your God: The Character and Attributes of God. Both conferences were attended by pastors, deacons, orphan school teachers, and soon-to-be pastors (roughly 65 in all). At the close of each conference, each person received a certificate of participation and had opportunity to share how the training impacted their lives and will be used in their church and community. In the December conference, the director of Haiti National Television attended along with his television crew and journalists who reported on the conference through national news. Through these conferences, several theological resources were given to every attendee, including J.I. Packer’s Knowing God and John Piper’s 50 Reasons Christ Came to Die.

The regional conferences provided more tailored training, and they took place through our church partnerships in Port-au-Prince, Desarmes, and Saint-Marc. The themes for these training opportunities included gospel-centered discipleship, the purpose of Christ’s death, and an exegetical/expositional walk through 2 Timothy to know more of the marks of a biblical church leader.

Continue reading

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Help Us Invest in Training Haitian Pastors

6760961039_f38674d9d7_zNext 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 put on by The Haiti Collective. 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 whom 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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Libere 2013 | Join the Cause of Caring for Haitian Orphans!

Foundational to our work in Haiti is providing sustainable orphan care through local churches. When we began our work in 2011, we started with developing a food distribution system in Haiti to provide at least two meals a day for nearly 1,600 orphans. Within months of ministering to orphans, we realized that many of the children were becoming sick and hospitalized due to inadequate supply of clean drinking water. Searching for a solution, we connected with Sawyer Filters to implement water purification systems throughout our orphan schools and strategic placements in surrounding communities. To synthesize the work of providing food, water, and education for the orphans, we created what is called the Libere Initiative.

Over the past year, we have been able to provide over one million meals for orphans as well as 130 water purification systems, capable of providing approximately 65,000 gallons of purified water every day of the year. As a result, our orphans are not easily vulnerable to water-born diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and dysentery, meaning less hospital emergencies and more opportunity for healthy grow and continued education.

Libere 2013

In 2013, our hope is to have a fully funded orphan care program. Though we were not able to reach our goal last year, we still were able to make a significant difference in the health and vitality of orphans. This year, we hope to take it a step further by also investing in the church-based education of the children as well by strengthening our investment in leadership and practical training of teachers. Together then, the Libere Initiative is all about providing food, clean water, and quality education for all 1,600 orphans under our care.

Libere 2012 Back for WebSo what will it take for us to have a fully funded orphan care program?

$65,000

That’s right. In one sense, that may sound like a lot of money. But when you consider over one million meals, hundreds of water purification systems, and the investment in church-based education of 1,600 children over the course of an entire year, $65,000 is remarkably small. In fact, it comes down to 10¢ a day for each orphan to be cared for with these three basic/fundamental needs (food, water, education).

How You Can Help

We simply cannot meet this goal by ourselves. We are a small network of churches serving a big God who can meet our every need. But we know God uses means to accomplish His purposes, and those means are people He has entrusted resources, supplies, and money to fuel the mission. Here are some ways you can help!

  1. Pray – ask God to supply us with means to meet this great need
  2. Share – use your social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) to introduce this need to others who could join us
  3. Invite – invite your small group, Sunday school class, or church to get involved in caring for orphans in Haiti through Libere 2013
  4. Give – support Libere 2013 by giving financially to help us meet this financial goal

By clicking the “Donate” button above, you can give directly to Libere 2013. If would like to send support via, please make checks out to “Grace Baptist Church – Haiti Collective” and mail to:

The Haiti Collective
P.O. Box 150064
Cape Coral, FL 33915

If you have any questions about Libere 2013, please feel free to contact us at thehaiticollective@gmail.com. May God be pleased to glorify Himself through our humble efforts to do good to “the least of these” in the needy country of Haiti.

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God Continues to Provide!

A couple months ago, some of our team members from Grace contacted me about the possibility of doing a joint mission trip alongside the upcoming January Bible Conference. Given that most of the leadership would be away from their communities, this posed somewhat of a challenge. The idea was proposed to do another medical an dental clinic, using members of the church and a couple of translators to assist. What began as a small idea has simply exceeded all our expectations.

Originally, the plans were to have two dentists provide basic dental cleaning and extractions. But, having seen the orphans we work with, one of the big medical needs has been to deworm their digestive systems as well as provide skin cream for ringworm. Many if not most of the orphans have issues related to ringworm, whether in their stomach or their skin, so being able to treat this problem would have HUGE ramifications on the children’s capability of taking in and processing basic foods.

After exploring options with pharmaceutical companies, we were able to get a bulk discount of deworming medication that would last for six months for all 1,600 orphans in our churches. The problem was that we did not have funds available to get this medicine in addition to the dental equipment and supplies. In early November, I had the opportunity to share about the work we are doing in Haiti, especially about the upcoming mission trip. When a couple in Nashville area heard about this particular need, they were led to provide all the money necessary to provide this six month treatment for all 1,600 children. God opened the doors and continues to provide!

Meds for HaitiBut it does not end there.

One of the hopes we had as well was to be able to get a six month supply of multivitamins for the children for preventative care along with water purification previously supplied and new deworming medication. However, the expense of providing that much vitamin was far beyond anything we could afford (roughly $10,000). We decided to shelve the idea and stick with dental work and deworming medicine. UNTIL our team leader one day was at a friend’s house who happening to be browsing Facebook and found a pharmacist looking to donate vitamins specifically to a third world country. No joke.

We followed up with this lead, thinking we might be able to get enough vitamins for the orphans we will be providing dental treatment (some 150 orphans). Feeling led to ask for supplies for all 1,600 we made the appeal to him, and he graciously agreed to provide six month’s supply of multi-vitamins and muti-minerals for every orphan under our care. Simply unbelievable. No, it’s believable because God knows our need before we ever ask.

Vitamins for HaitiNow our only problem is figuring out how to get God’s provision shipped to Haiti! We’re glad to have such a problem and have every reason to believe God will make a way.

Why should we ever doubt Him?

“And my God will supply every need of yours
according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:19

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First World Problems Are Not Problems

DBB of New York is on a crusade against first world problems (found on twitter as #firstworldproblems), which they have argued to be at least five tweets per second. Their strategy? Take the tweets/updates of first-world problems and share them with folks in Haiti. DBB took a film crew to Haiti and recorded 30 customized video responses to specific tweets of those with first-world problems from the mouths of Haitians. I think it is brilliant.

Watch the anthem below. Read about it here.

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What’s Next for The Haiti Collective?

The Fall Season is here, and things are kicking into full gear. We had a great summer with   four mission trips and two new partnerships forming with local churches in Haiti. God has blessed the efforts in many numerous ways, including

  • medical/dental care for 900+ children (first trip)
  • acquiring 5 acres of land in Saint Marc to relocate the church there (second trip)
  • providing electricity in Desarmes and starting our first internet cafe (third trip)
  • building 30 benches for the church in Desarmes (third trip)
  • new ministry in Duval and Port-de-Paix, building new partnerships (fourth trip)

MISSION TRIPS

Moving forward, we have another mission trip scheduled for December with the team from Open Door Baptist Church (Tuscaloosa, AL).  They will be working with the church in Port-au-Prince, which has been rebuilding since the devastating earthquake where they lost all their facilities and more importantly 34 members (include 13 orphans). We are excited about this new opportunity to expand church-based partnership with God’s people in PaP!

Additionally, we are planning our annual network conference where we will bring all of our pastors and leaders from across the country (60+) for three days of training, encouragement, and fellowship. The dates are January 7-14, 2013 and the theme of the conference is the Authority and Sufficiency of God’s Word. Our desire is to invest in Haitian churches in ways that will give them a deeper appreciation and love for God’s Word, to be known as Bible-based ministries seeking to honor and obey all that God has commanded us.  We are excited to have 7-8 pastors from across the US, most of them coming for the first time, to invest in those entrusted with the call to lead God’s people in Haiti.

Alongside the Bible conference, a group from Grace Baptist (Cape Coral, FL) will be working in Desarmes and surrounding churches, providing dental care and administrating preventive medication, such as vitamins, deworming medicine, and training leaders in water purification usages (drinking, bathing, cooking, etc.). Some of the men will be developing a plumbing system to maximize water supply and provide more efficient sanitation. Needless to say, we are excited about the plans coming together for this week in January!

ADOPT-A-PASTOR AND LIBERE 2013

Two big developments in the network this fall will be the launch of the adopt-a-pastor program and the renewal of the Libere Project for 2013. The Adopt-a-Pastor program will enable us to minister to the needs of church leaders in Haiti throughout the year, including theological education, prayer support, and conference training. This program will allow families, small groups, individuals, Sunday School classes, and the like to support The Haiti Collective by investing in the ministry of church leaders throughout the network. More about that to come soon!

Last year, we started the Libere Project. This is the foundational relief effort to provide food, clean water, and church-based education to 1,600+ orphans in our network. These churches and schools do not have the means to provide adequate supply of food and water filtration systems nor pay the teachers who invest in these precious orphans. For $65,000 a year, we can provide a full supply of the three most basic needs of 1,600 orphans: two meals a day, adequate supply of purified water, and education for the entire year. Without the Libere Project, we would not be able to address the most pressing needs of the churches and move forward with the development necessary for the long-term health of the churches in Haiti.

Please pray for us. We feel the weight of responsibility and the great door of opportunity opened up for us to serve alongside our Haitian brothers and sisters in bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to this needy country in faithful proclamation and merciful demonstration. May God be pleased to direct our efforts in ways that would bring Him most glory and bring Haiti the most good!

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Thank You Journey Church for Partnering with Us!

We are grateful for the partnership and support of The Journey Church! This team recently served our network churches in Duval and Port-de-Paix. May the Lord continue to stir the hearts of God’s people to join us in serving the churches in Haiti with encouragement and partnership in the gospel!

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Philosophy of Mission: Short-Term Mission with Long-Term Commitment

We are closing out the short series on our philosophy of mission with short-term missions. Unfortunately, too often short-term mission trips can focus more on the missionaries than the mission, more on what happens in the short-term than what God is doing in the field long-term. We believe in short-term mission trips, and it is our desire to steward them well for the long-term welfare of God’s work in Haiti as well as the seed sown in the hearts of those God sends.

5. Short-Term Mission with Long Term Commitment

The reason we stress church-based partnerships is because we desire short-term missions with a long-term commitment. Some of the work is relief-based and short-term. Other work is mid-term focusing on community development, while others still is long-term focused on reform. Those of us who live outside Haiti are often unconscious of the realities in Haiti unless we see them first-hand. Our efforts are most effective when they fit within an enduring template with long-term commitment whether in Haiti or not.

Realistically speaking, the change Haiti needs may take decades, if not longer. Our approach is to connect gospel labors with the purposes of God for the church in Haiti. Churches who partner through The Haiti Collective are encouraged to consider how God might use them to impact Haiti through generational change one mission trip, one investment, one pastor, one church at a time.

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Philosophy of Mission: Equipping, Not Entitlement

Continuing in our series on our Philosophy of Mission, we are acutely aware of the kind of helping that hurts. One of the greatest challenges we have faced in Haiti in the cross-cultural divide has to do with money, and along with that expectations, dependency, and entitlement mentality. Because of this, we are diligently seeking to shape our mission in ways that avoid the potholes that can cripple our efforts in making Christ known in word and deed.

4. Equipping, Not Entitlement

The needs and opportunities are massive. The temptation to jump in and want to fix all the problems is real, and often times we do not think about unintended consequences due to neglecting the “How?” question. The biggest unintended consequence is building an entitlement mentality among the people of Haiti. The more we unilaterally jump into a situation and solve third-world problems with first-world money and expertise, third-world citizens will begin to believe their problems could only be solved by first-world people. As a result, entitlement sets in, and nothing is done by Haitians unless it is paid and accomplished by American missionaries.

Instead, our desire is to leverage our gifts, resources, money, and trips to equip and empower Haitians through training and encouragement. We are cheerleaders, not the star players. When we have clothes to give away, we help them start a street-side store to resell them and start jobs. When we have a construction project to build, we provide training for competent men to learn new ways of building according to higher standards and perhaps provide future business opportunities. In all our efforts, we are evaluating the consequence of our investments so as to safeguard our efforts from entitlement mentality and discouraging Haitians from taking ownership of the ministry God has given them.

The reason we say our goal is to be invisible as possible is because the presence of American missionaries equals riches and luxury. And any Haitian pastor or leader visibly associated with American missionaries means their people will attach wealth, riches, and luxuries to their own leaders. As you can imagine, the people will sadly hold their leaders in contempt or skepticism, unjustifiably so, but still nevertheless. Understanding these realties, we want to alleviate any unnecessary difficulties for our indigenous leaders and at the same empower them to lead their churches to change their communities with integrity and passion.

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Our Haitian orphans are awesome.

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Philosophy of Mission: Church-Centered Partnership

The third aspect of our philosophy of mission focuses on the local church.  As an organization comprised of various partners–individuals, churches, business leaders, etc.–we share a common approach that the best way to influence and transform communities in Haiti is through local churches.

3. Church-Centered Partnership

We believe the local church is the outpost of the kingdom of God and should be central in kingdom affairs. All of our efforts operate in and through local churches in Haiti. Central to our ambition is to strengthen and build healthy, indigenous churches with solid, biblically qualified leadership. Whether orphan care, micro business, or community development, the work is carried out by the people of God, not an organization or program.

Stateside, we seek to build church-centered partnerships for long-term commitment for the good of Haiti. Short-term mission efforts are most effective in a long-term investment, and stateside churches can know, understand, and participate in the work of missions in Haiti in more meaningful and significant ways through this enduring commitment.

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Philosophy of Mission: Contextualized Mission

Continuing in our series on The Haiti Collective’s philosophy of mission, we are addressing the issue of contextualization, which is communicating the gospel and accomplishing the mission of the church in culturally appropriate and biblically faithful ways. In addition to have indigenous leadership, we aim to also have a contextualized mission.

2. Contextualized Mission

We are careful not to import our cultural norms into our work in cross-cultural missions. Instead, we want to learn the customs, patterns, and ways of living in Haiti so that Haitians can clearly know and understand the gospel without artificial barriers. To overcome these barriers, we are careful to know our biases and traditions on the one hand, and also seeking to understand the cultural beliefs and behaviors of Haitians on the other. Our desire is not to teach them the American way of doing ministry but the biblically faithful way of being the people of God in their culturally-specific society.

As a network, we desire to know the difference between matters that are preferential and matters that are prescriptive according to Scripture. The former we hold with an open hand; the latter we hold with a closed hand. Biblically faithful and missionally fruitful churches in Haiti are not to be chastened by their indigeneity but challenged by normative principles of Scripture.

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Join Us in Praying for Haiti This Weekend!

According to weather reports, Tropical Storm Isaac will blow through Haiti this afternoon and evening. While the winds do not appear to be very strong, they are still a threat. Even more, the storm surge and heavy amounts of rain expected to fall will present Haitians will incredible challenges. Many of our churches are situated in the mountainous region of the country.

Our youngest church plant in the city of Dhue had their building completely destroyed by a massive mudslide due to heavy rainfall. The churches in Port-au-Prince, Port-de-Paix, and Cap-Haitien are all near the coastline, while other churches in Nacafe (La Gonave), Saint-Marc, Desarmes, Duval, Verrettes, and other places are located in valleys surrounding by mountains.

Please join us in praying for the safety and welfare of all Haitians and in particular the churches in our network, for their protection as well as their providential to serve their community with clean water and other practical needs to commend Christ to their neighbors.

 

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