In Haiti, ‘lives are improving, leaders are emerging’
Blogging live from Oklahoma City
“Rebuilding and Sharing Hope” was the theme of a fundraising breakfast sponsored by Hope for Haiti’s Children on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University.
The Sugar Land, Texas-based ministry, supported by Churches of Christ, sponsors children’s homes and Christian schools in Haiti. They work closely with Haitian minister Jean T. Elmera and the Delmas 28 Church of Christ in Port-au-Prince. (See my interviews with Elmera just after the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti and just before the one-year anniversary of the quake.)
Ken Bever, a graduate of Oklahoma Christian and founder of Hope for Haiti’s Children, talked about the ministry’s response to the earthquake and the huge number of baptisms that followed the catastrophic event. Since 1995, when the ministry began, Haitian Christians have planted more than 60 congregations and launched 22 Christian schools.
The ministry has a “Rebuilding Hope 2020” vision that includes creating a permanent relocation community for people displaced by the quake. The ministry also is developing a compound on 25 acres outside of Port-au-Prince in the community of Thomazeau. The compound will include a new orphanage.
The ministry plans a youth leadership conference for Haitian Christians that will emphasize servant leadership, Bever said, adding that, among Haitian churches, “lives are improving, leaders are emerging.”
One such leader is Musset Fils-Aime, a Haitian who was born in Port-au-Prince and orphaned at age 8. His stepmother brought him to a Hope for Haiti’s Children orphanage, where he was raised. He attended Christian schools and was baptized in a Church of Christ.
“My desire is to serve God by becoming a mechanical engineer,” he told attendees at the breakfast. Fils-Aime received a scholarship and support from U.S. Christians to study at Oklahoma Christian.
“My goal is to go back to Haiti and help rebuild,” he said.
Here’s a video from earlier this year that tells a bit about the rebuilding of the Delmas 28 Church of Christ and Christian school after the earthquake.
Our personal interest is that we lost our daughter, Jan McBee to cancer when she was 51, in October 2009 and the family requested that “in lieu of flowers, gifts be made to Hope For Haiti’s Children.” Enough money was given in her memory to build two houses in Cite Soleil where our work in located. Ken Bever reported to us in June 2011 that the first house had been completed and presented to one of the very neediest families who had suffered death and damage in the earthquake.
Ken told us the day the house was presented to that family that the whole community turned out to witness it as well as the local t.v. station sent representatives to film the presentation to a father who was blind and unemployed and who had lost his wife in the earthquake, he has a son and daughter so now the family who had been living in a tent and mud since the earthquake now have a dry, safe place to live. Ken Bever had a brick with “In Memory of Jan McBee” engraved on it in Cinncinatti and took it to Cite Soleil to be placed in the masonry work in the front of the house. Pictures were taken of the event and sent to us by Ken and his “people.”
He also told us the second house will be built soon and presented to a very needy family and on the front of that house will be a brick with “Jan’s House” on it. Our daughter, Jan was a wonderful Christian who was a very giving and caring young woman. We loved and appreciataed our daughter dearly and still miss her so much, but we are so thankful that her Christian influence still lives on so far away and with so many people. We don’t always understand God’s ways but accept that he knows what is best for all.
Sincerely in Christ, Joyce & Bill McCurdy.