Can The Lutheran Church Change The Slums Of Gonaives, Haiti?

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The area in question is called “ Jubilee “. Until
lately even the police were afraid to enter that
area which houses a population of over 12,000.
Children walking around naked, having no
clothes, is a common sight. Homes in the area
hold 8 to 12 people in a 10’ x 12’ space that
we would call a storage shed. Less than 30%
of the children in that area attend school even
though primary education was made free by
the government this year. They simply cannot
afford clothes, shoes, and school supplies.
Even the Lutheran Church resisted going into
the area because of such poverty. One Pastor
finally agreed to work in this area to develop
a congregation after initial work done by a
combined US and Haitian team. Before this
time even 12-13 year old girls were getting
pregnant. With the presence of just one
Church in that area, those pregnancies were
significantly reduced in less than 6 months.
They now have a small property with a
rudimentary shelter for a Church building.
The wish is to build at least a Haitian style
Church ( tin roof and thatch walls) or,
preferred, a proper block wall building. In
that area, about 3/4 mile square, there is no
“green” to be seen. What really needs to be
addressed is the lack of good drinking water
and latrines. Right now people just go to
a piece of common ground. As in the past,
seeing to those needs, will really cement
Christianity into their lives for good. The
growth potential is huge as this is the only
Christian Church in that area. With a Church
building and the Christian message, this area
will certainly be a safer place to exist for the
12,000 inhabitants. The Christian message
can do wonders !
HAITI LUTHERAN MISSION SOCIETY
400 Glenridge Avenue
St. Catharines, ON
L2T 3L2
Can the Lutheran Church
Change the Slums of Gonaives, Haiti?
Newest Church in the LCH in the slums of Jubilee in Gonaives
Gospel Broadcasting to Resume/Hydro Line
Donations Needed for
New Hydro Line
Seventy seven voodoo priests and priestesses
have been drawn to faith in Jesus Christ
through the broadcasting ministry of the
Lutheran Church of Haiti. Rev. Revenel Benoit
knows how to relate to voodooists, for his
mother had been a priestess. So, the Holy
Spirit used his witness to create saving faith
in a practising priest. He told his story of
freedom from his former lies and superstitions
on the LCH’s TV programs. This led 77 other
priests to embrace the truth of the Gospel.
But, about a year ago, the generator that was
powering the transmission gave up the ghost,
so the Gospel has not been broadcast and since
that time no more voodoo priests have been
converted. One would think it would be the
same for the many Voodoo followers.
However, thanks to the largest single
contribution to the HLMS, of $25,000, the
LCH will now be enabled to begin work
on an electrical connection from their TV
and FM radio studios in Gonaives up to the
transmitters on top of Lapierre Mountain,
from where the broadcasts can reach 5,000,000
Haitians with the Gospel. The line from the
Church to the mountain passes almost directly
overtop of the quarry. Through their Star
Construction Co., the LCH will cover half of
the total cost of providing for the poles and
wires up to that stone quarry, which totals US
$20,000.00. The remaining segments have an
estimate of US $60,000.00. Star Construction
will cover $10,000.00 of that cost as well.
With over $26,00.00 in hand we pray that
our donors will respond with designated
funding for the remaining $24,000.00 to finally
reach our goal. This power supply will be
much cheaper than the expense of running a
generator. When running, the generator would
consume about US $2,000.00 per month for
diesel to provide 12 hours of broadcasting.
With local electricity that cost would be almost
quartered and even extend the number of
hours for proclaiming the Gospel to millions of
Haitians! Add to that the savings at the quarry,
which consumes about $5,000.00 of diesel per
month, and the payback would be very quick.
Jubilee slums of Gonaives. Notice the 3 Voodoo flags in the centre;
site of a Voodoo temple.
Micro Loans
The LCH is very active in this venture. For
instance they might make a loan to several
former Voodoo priests in order to keep them from
backsliding. Remember that when they become
Christian they also lose their “ job”. Lately, they
also made 10 loans to people in the Jubilee slums
of Gonaives. Right is Pastor Charles, Vice Pres.
of LCH with a woman receiving her micro-loan.
Her sister died leaving behind an infant. She is a
school teacher but left her teaching job to care for
the infant. One would think that she turned her
back on a job, but she had in fact not been paid by
the government for several months running.
Wally Bogusat (board member) and Frank help to fix a bench
at the boys orphanage. This picture was taken in November
on a mission trip sponsored by our Florida
affiliate, Mission Haiti.
Jubilee people waiting for a handout of clothes from the LCH
Swift Growth Continues
Container #14
10 new congregations were added this past year and they have plans to replicate the
same next year. Because of the many ventures that the Church undertakes, they can
afford to integrate the increased costs. The LCH now numbers over 48,000 members
(larger than LCC) with 217 Churches, 160 schools (half in separate buildings - new
requirement), and 450 teachers. Added in the last year are 2 sewing schools due to all
the sewing machines which we have shipped. With the fast pace of growth our Society
will be, hopefully, responding to the need for Bibles and Catechisms in Creole and others
in French. Also indentified as a need are French theological training books such as Dr.
Wilbur Kreiss’s Lutheran Theological Works in French, as it cannot be bound in Haiti.
The printing establishment which was the go to shop was severely damaged in the
Port-au-Prince earthquake, so that sourcing of such books has become problematic. Some
such are available on-line but that does not put a hard copy in their hands for study.
We packed that one during the last weekend of Sept. A big thank you goes out to Bob
Hallman and his crew from Faith, Kitchener, who provided goods and manpower on that
Friday. We learned from Pastor Benoit that these containers are greatly anticipated and
they have a system whereby a list is made up of all peoples’ needs and wishes. When the
Pastors meet they will take boxes of goods back to their members. They were also able to
help out the poor in that Jubilee area of Gonaives with our goods. Every stop we made
with Pastor Benoit on his visit, he stated that our old things are like new for them and
without them some of his people cannot even come to Church. Haitians are very proud
people and would not go to Church in rags. Among the items in our latest container were
27 sewing machines, 429 bags or boxes of clothes, 80 bags of shoes, 116 boxes of kitchen
related, 67 bedding/ towels, 83 boxes of sewing supplies, 773 sleeping mats, 44 chairs, 14
slate black boards, and many other things.
Kitchen in the guest house with the new/used cupboards
and stove shipped from Canada
New garden in the boys’ orphanage will help their
awareness and growth in life’s journey
Short Notes
Hurricane Sandy: Although Haiti did not sustain a direct hit the LCH did report collateral
damage to roofs and the like. The most lasting problem is that many farms in the south got hit
and this has driven food prices up severely. Although they have come down a little since, this will
still be hard on the feeding program and all people. Trinity/Hope is currently feeding just over
18,000 kids a day in 89 schools. About 27 cents was the last reported cost per meal. Within that
program our own board member Erna McBride has a fund set up, in her daughters honour, to
feed an entire school ( Mixte Nazareth ). Over 400 kids attend now because of that meal, up from
the original 135.
Pastor Benoit relishes the Hot Seat! Coming from the tropics is quite a shock to the system,
so I constantly had to activate the heated seat under my passenger while taking him around last
month.
Biosand Water Filters: People in the Gonaives area have resisted the usage of the filters even
though its effectiveness has been proven. They are objecting to the taste which is not altered with
filtering. They prefer the Culligan Water sold there in bags or in jugs, even though it is much
more expensive. This has put the effort on hold for now. In the countryside filters would still be a
great deterrent against disease.
Truly Healthy Church: Our Society has changed its focus in the past year. We have now lowered our monthly support for teacher and Pastoral salaries to US $500.00 per month from the
$3,000. mark of past years. This has been made possible because of all the equipment which has
been sent down over the past 4 years. The proceeds from these pieces now largely take care of
those salaries. We will now focus more on projects, theological education, and the shipping of
containers. Case in point is our request for donations towards the new hydro line up to the TV
tower, which savings of fuel will go to the bottom line to fund programming and future growth
of the Church.
Seminary Education: Currently the LCH has a building designated as their future seminary.
They are doing pre-seminary training in language literacy, basic Christian theology, and ethics
but no seminary credit courses are yet available. They hope to work with the Lutheran Church–
Canada, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti in
joint Seminary training. Please pray that this work continues to move forward. There is such a
great need for theological education amongst the lay ministers of the many congregations of the
Lutheran Church of Haiti.
FALL 2012 Edited by Howard Bogusatwww.haitilutheranmissionsociety.ca
MISSION TEAM January 2013
Helen Roenfeldt from our Florida affiliate and myself, will be leading a mission team to Haiti.
Our goal is to do a documentary on the Lutheran Church of Haiti. We will try to capture on
DVD the how and why for the explosive growth in that Church. The board also feels that there
is a story to be told in how they have financed themselves to be almost self-sufficient. To our
knowledge, no other jurisdiction Lutheran or otherwise has a model such as this.
While travel is not easy in Haiti, we will cover as much of the country as possible in our 11 days
on the ground. Gonaives area has the most to offer with the quarry, orphanage, seniors home, TV
tower site, and Faith LC with its studio, computer school, and sanctuary. Directly through the
back wall is the new Seminary building. We hope to go north into smaller Church sites and then
south beyond Port-au-Prince to Leoganne (centre of the quake) and Church sites in the LesCayes
area. In speaking with Helen, it will take almost a whole day just to get from Gonaives through
P-au-P to Leoganne, even though it is not much over 100 miles.
Pastor Robert Munoz and two of his children, Maria and Martin, will be the film crew. Board
members Erna McBride, Willi Werner, Pastor Larry Gajdos, and Howard Bogusat will accompany.
Finally, Pastor Astley from Holy Cross LC in Kitchener will be along in his capacity as 1st Vice
Pres. to represent LCC in talks with the LCH National Committee.
Please pray for safety and health for us all!
GIVING CATEGORIES
General Fund...which covers the monthly subsidy, the
shipping of containers, and any discretionary decisions of the board.
SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAM ...around 27 cents per meal
HYDRO LINE from GONAIVES to TV TOWER

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