It’s been nearly 10 years since the January 2010 catastrophic 7.0 earthquake in which over 100,000 Haitians lost their lives. Today, Haiti remains the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Nation-wide demonstrations are becoming increasing common this year. The United States State Department advises that American citizens not travel to Haiti at this time due to the unrest. And yet, the Good News of Jesus Christ continues to spread to more and more Haitians in a country where Vodou remains the predominant religion.
Haitian national pastor Rona Abraham provides leadership in forming new church groups and in training future called workers for Haiti. He oversees the work in congregations in Leogane (3), Cape Haitian, Pilate, and Petit-Goave, plus several exploratory groups throughout the country.
Thousands of copies of a simplified Luther’s Small Catechism, translated into the Haitian Creole language, are being used in both private schools and in after-school programs at public schools throughout Haiti. Worship music resources (liturgy and hymns) in rhythmic music styles that resonate with Haitian worshipers are being composed and accompaniment tracks recorded for use in Sunday services.
God willing, a Lutheran vocational sewing institute will be opened in Haiti at three orphanage locations in the coming year. When Haitian orphans reach age 18, the law requires them to leave their orphanage. The sewing institute would give them an opportunity to learn an income-generating skill. Last year, a request to our WELS members in the U.S. for treadle sewing machines, as electricity in Haiti is often unreliable or non-existent, yielded over 25 donated machines.
A nonprofit organization of WELS members called Branch Lutheran Schools of Haiti funds three Lutheran elementary schools in three Haitian orphanages with a combined student enrollment of over 650 students. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, future called workers for Haiti are receiving a solid spiritual education through these schools.