Pastor Carlos Marin and Travis Arnold flew into Cap-Haitian on Saturday 31 September and left on Monday afternoon, 2 November. From the moment they arrived, their itinerary was packed. John and some of our missionary friends met them at the airport and took them straight to the beach where they enjoyed grilled fish and lobster. What a way to begin a time of ministry!
Our guest ministers traveled all the way from Portland, Oregon, and ministered Sunday morning at our main church. On Sunday evening they ministered at our church in Sainte-Philomène. Finally, all day Monday they both shared God’s Word in a youth conference composed of the youth from all our church plants as well as several assemblies in the Cap-Haitian area. Our mother church was packed full of young believers to whom we served, at the end of the conference, a full meal of chicken, rice and beans, and plantains. We were amazed to have ministered to over 1,060 young people!
John and Travis graduated from Portland Bible College together in 2007 and were in many of the same classes. They even roomed together and have remained good friends after all these years. Pastor Carlos is the Administrator of Portland Bible College as well as being the Online Pastor for City Bible Church. He was also one of Travis’ and John’s professors while they were in school. Today, Travis is a professor at PBC and John is blossoming here in Cap-Haitian as a professor in our Bible institute. What a blessing it was to watch them working side by side as John translated their messages.
“Comment Gérer le Temps de Votre Jeunesse” (“How to Steward the Days of Your Youth”) was the theme for our conference. Our visitors brought both rich and practical advice to our youth and encouraged their listeners to be The NOW Generation. “Don’t wait for the next generation to be the ones who’ll make an impact in Haiti. Start praying now and seeking God!’’, they were told as well as to “Get involved in your local church and find out what your calling is.” “Ou kichoy!” could not be repeated enough in the ears of the listeners. “You’re Somebody!” was a vital message that probably is not heard everyday in a country where some don’t even consider one to have reached adulthood until the age of 40.
It’s really hard for me to fathom that, most of these young folks weren’t even alive during the tumultuous part of their history that we’ve lived through. They weren’t alive during the exile of Jean-Claude Duvalier and the downfall of his infamous Tonton Macoutes (1986) or during the three-year embargo that indirectly claimed over 36,000 lives (1991-1994.) Yet, they are reaping the results of all the disastrous decisions made by their former countrymen and leaders. They dream of a better way of life just like we do.
Yesterday, these future leaders of Haiti were challenged to be like David, who didn’t wait for someone else to step up to the plate. He became a giant killer and altered the course of Israel’s history as well as his own. For those who live in the poorest country in this hemisphere, where jobs are scarce but hunger is not, the future looks bleak even for the most optimistic. Yet, the message to make a difference was just the shot of adrenalin these young people needed. The youth were told they’re special and that THEY can make a difference in their nation. The Word resonated with our young listeners. At the end of the service, our church altar was full as many participants came forward for prayer.
Thank you, Pastor Carlos and Travis for coming to fellowship with us and to share such a rich time of ministry with us all. Thank you as well to those who helped finance their journey. What a difference you have made!
Please pray for us. The next time we host a youth conference, we want to at least double the number of participants we had at this conference. We will also spend two days together and again feed them all as we did this year.
Pray for Haiti’s youth to be the NOW generation! (Click on pictures to enlarge)
Pastor Carlos and Pastor Lefort