The 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 brought the world’s attention to this small Caribbean nation. Yet Haitians have been suffering nearly unimaginable hardships for the last couple hundred years. Violence, poverty, natural disasters, and a lack of clean water and proper nutrition cast a dark shadow of this beautiful land and have prompted many relief organizations to offer assistance.
The picture isn’t entirely dark, however. The people of Haiti are friendly and hospitable. They are proud of their country and hopeful for the future. Haiti is also now home to a budding FamilyLife ministry with a mission to build godly marriages and families in their traumatized country.
The launch of FamilyLife in Haiti began when a Canadian missionary who had formerly served in Haiti with Harvest ministry contacted the FamilyLife team in Canada. Her request was simple but profound. “After the earthquake, there’s been a focus on building houses with stronger foundations, but we also need to be about building stronger foundations for marriages and families.”
FamilyLife Canada initiated a ministry to families in Haiti in September 2012. They demonstrated a marriage seminar and conducted speaker training for seven couples. My wife, Kit, and I visited Haiti in summer 2013 to follow up with the couples who had been trained and offer additional training and encouragement. We were pleased to discover that the Canadians had formed an excellent team in Haiti made up of young couples with great enthusiasm. All of them are very experienced in Christian ministry.
We started by training the team in leading HomeBuilders® small groups. Haitians like to discuss things and will be naturals for HomeBuilders. Our other training sessions included FamilyLife ministry philosophy, strategies, event promotion, personal counseling, ministry finances, speaking, and licensing of FamilyLife resources.
One of the couples asked us to give a sermon on families at Quisqueya Chapel on Sunday morning. We spoke in front of 250 attendees plus several of the FamilyLife couples who attended to hear us. It not only gave us an extra opportunity to demonstrate FamilyLife’s engaging style of speaking to a large group, but it also piqued the interest of several expatriate missionaries who wanted to know more about using FamilyLife resources. We directed them to our new partners, the FamilyLife Haiti team.
We also conducted a singles’ talk to a group of about 40 young men. This received the most enthusiastic response of all our talks. We promised the materials to FamilyLife Haiti, who will likely pursue an approach that heavily emphasizes preparation for marriage (a great need in Haiti).
We came home encouraged by the seeds that have been planted in Haiti and eager to see how God uses this remarkable team to bring hope and healing to their troubled but resilient country.