During my six decades of life, the emphasis has been on feeding orphans and donating $10 monthly to sponsor a child. Is that truly the solution for the destitution?
Six decades later, we still watch parents of poor children dig the soil with their clumsy hoes, hand planting seeds, counting on “God is good” (“Bon Dieu Bon”), and praying that God will send the rain for the harvest, while they are forced to cut down trees to make charcoal to survive, all the while exacerbating deforestation.
Haitian born in 1941, I was raised in a Christian home and taught the faith by my father, a deacon, who was illiterate. My father, Arejuste, always said: “Children are the hope of Haiti and the church of tomorrow.” I believed what he said was true. As an eight-year old, I first heard a group of missionaries at my hometown church in Saint Marc say, “Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere. The condition can and must change.”
For six decades, as I pastored, the same phrase has been repeated. The situation has degenerated as the world has witnessed. The problem of Haiti is not voodoo, as many claim. The problem is not moral. The problem is spiritual.
For over 30 years, I have assisted hundreds of children with an education. My wife and I have helped many learn skills to earn a better living. I do not know where some of them live today. But I do know they are better off. What is the hope of Haiti and the church of tomorrow if there is no vision and mission coming out of our children’s minds?
All of us know that prayer, daily fasting, and teaching the people to say, “Beni soit L’Eternel! Blessed be the Lord!” while waiting for a miracle is not the solution to the problem of Haiti. What is the solution? We need to redefine the old mission concept. Our mission’s philosophy must not simply be to relieve the needy from today’s hunger, but to help change the orphanage, dependency, hand-out concept and teach parents and children to sustain themselves. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Chinese Proverb.