Building Home Churches in Haiti

When you hear the word “Haiti,” what comes to your mind? Certainly you think of the recent devastating earthquake, suffering, poverty, tent cities, and voodoo.  “When I think about Haiti, I have different sensations running through my mind -- the extreme tropical humidity, the inviting smell of the evening charcoal fires, the taste of a puckery sweet mango, the sound of Haitian believers loudly praising God -- and, of course, the faces of our dear friends and ministry partners,” reflects Terri DiPietro former missionary in Haiti.  DiPietro says she also thinks about Dr. Hubert Morquette and his wife, Junie, both accomplished surgeons who founded King’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince.  Morquette is passionately devoted to public health and to strengthening local communities through the church.  Over the years, Xenos Christian Fellowship has sent teams to Haiti to participate in a variety of health and immunization clinics and seminars in support of Dr. Morquette’s work.

During DiPietro’s short term trip last August, several team members began the work of challenging the Christian community near King’s Hospital to expand their vision for ministry to include the poorest of the poor, the vulnerable young mothers and children who are among the hundreds of thousands still living in tents, nearly 3 ½ years after the earthquake.  The missions group also teamed up with Haitian medical staff to take basic medical care to a neighboring tent community.  As far as the future goes, DiPietro says, “We plan to continue this work in January 2014, working with local church leaders in Port-au-Prince to create a groundswell of simple churches to reach the spiritually hungry in communities still experiencing brutal social aftershocks from the earthquake, folks who have been largely excluded or forgotten by the traditional church.”

 Another face that DiPietro recalls is the joyful grin of Pastor Ewal Duplessy. Pastor Duplessy leads the Beraka church in Jacmel on the southern coast. Teams from Xenos have taught dozens of leadership training seminars at Beraka, casting a vision for “every-member ministry” and the sustainable model of the primitive church. Xenos teams have helped the Church at Beraka plant over 20 churches and seen scores of Haitians come to faith in Christ.

“One effective way to penetrate new communities with the gospel has been to ‘adorn’ the message by providing basic medical care through a mobile clinic,” commented DiPietro.  Squeezed into the back of truck, you will find medical tools, the pharmacy suitcases, potable water, food and a team of doctors, dentists, evangelists, cooks and all the rest of the team, bouncing across a riverbed or a well-eroded path. The clinic day begins with the message of the hope found in Christ, and throughout the day, the team continues to engage the crowd in spiritual conversations, ending with prayer for their physical and spiritual needs as they leave the pharmacy. Last August, the team was invited to help establish a house church directly across the path from a former voodoo ceremonial site, proclaiming boldly the surpassing power of Christ in that dark community.  DiPietro said, “I’m excited to be one of over 100 folks from Xenos who have had a hand in the work God is doing in Haiti! It is a privilege beyond measure to tangibly experience the love of God overcoming the barriers of language, culture and geography. Yes, there is hope for Haiti, and that hope is found in Jesus Christ and through his body, the church.”