As Martie and I visit the 7 churches in Anse Du Clerc (awns doo claire) we will post reports on our visits to introduce you to the churches and pastors. Martie and I are working with Pastor Francky to establish relationships with the pastors of these churches. The churches are located in a 75 square mile area west of Jeremie. So far we have met with three of the seven churches. In addition to building a relationship with the pastors, we are building a “Base Camp” for the mission teams. More on that in a future post.
Our initial strategy is to meet with the pastors, collect information about the pastor, his congregation, and his community. We will aggregate the information for all of the churches and with the Children’s Hope leadership in Montgomery will develop a plan to address some of the needs that we identify. We tell each pastor that we will not be able to meet all of their needs but will commit to come alongside them and help in some fashion. Our immediate priorities are evangelism, discipleship, and medical missions.
In this update we want to introduce you to the Pastor of Torbeck Church.
Torbeck Church is located in a remote village southwest of the Jeremie Airport.
The Pastor, Blaise, Luknes is 42 years old. He has been a Christian for 20 years. He graduated from high school, Teachers College and 4 years of Bible College in Port au Prince. Originally from Bonbon, he lives in Jeremie with his wife, Geinia Sylvan, and their 2 children. They have been married for 14 years. Pastor Blaise is the founding pastor. During the week, Pastor Blaise works for the police and is the deputy commander (the #2 guy). He gave me his phone number and told me to call me anytime I need his help.
The congregation of 120 members consists of about 30 adults and 90 youth. There are 2 deacons and an assistant pastor. About half of the adults can read. There are only seven people that have Bibles. Nearly all of the children can read with a national school and several private, church schools close by.
The church building is typical for most churches in the rural areas of Haiti. Built with limited funds, it is comprised of tree branches, a metal roof, concrete floor and tarps for walls. The church is about 4 years old. The Pastor’s goal is to eventually replace the tarps with stone walls. He said that there are many rocks in the area that the people can gather. What they lack are funds to buy the rebar and cement needed. There seemed to be no sense of urgency in doing that, just a goal for some point in the future.
There are a number of other established churches in the Torbeck area, Seventh Day Adventist, Catholic, and Methodist. When asked about in influence of Voodoo, Pastor Blaise said that the Voodoo priests have little influence in the area. But not long after a RaRa band (Voodoo band) marched down the road and then participated in some sort of celebration about 50 yards from the church property. There were in excess of 50 adult people involved. That reminded us that communication is a challenge and what each understands may not be what the other person meant.
During our visit, the church’s equivalent to Scouts, called a brigade, performed drills for us. We were told that they train to help in case of emergencies and are taught discipline.
Evangelistic Outreach. Every Friday and Saturday, the church goes out into the community to share the Gospel. On Friday’s they meet from 8pm to 12am to pray. That’s right – from 8pm to midnight. We listen to similar church services in Jeremie every Friday night. We can hear the services at least two churches sitting in our house.
Congregational Needs. Biblical Training for all groups, Clothes and shoes. The pastor said that people will not come to church if they don’t have shoes or better clothes to wear. (not torn or stained)
Community Needs. The greatest need in the community is pit toilets – sanitation. Now the people use the fields. Since pit toilets are common in Haiti, we are not certain why they do not dig them. Will require further investigation. The pastor said they have plenty of water, but we have no idea if the water supply is free of contaminants .
Pastor Blaise built an oven next to the church with the intent of making bread to sell to the community, who must walk a great distance to buy bread. He plans to use the money to employ the bakers and provide funds for the church.
Next Update : La Seringue (la soo rain)