Great Opportunity to bring Help and Hope Directly to the Haitian People
Since 1492, when Christopher Columbus landed in Haiti, the country has known mostly suffering. Haiti was once France’s wealthiest colony. Its great yields of lumber and sugar cane were possible only through the labor of imported African slaves, who were worked so cruelly that they usually died within a few years. Slavery in Haiti was perhaps the most brutal the world has ever seen. Finally in 1799, slaves, outnumbering their colonial masters by 10 to 1, carried out the only successful slave revolt in history. Haiti became the world’s first post-colonial black-led nation. Sadly, though, thanks to oppressive and evil governments and natural disasters, the suffering of the Haitian people has continued. Lying only 700 miles off our shores, is there something we as believers can do to bring them relief through the love of Christ? YES! And now is the time!
Haiti, with its ten million people, is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. To worsen things, in January 2010, a massive earthquake virtually destroyed the capital of Port-au-Prince, resulting in 300,000 deaths and leaving 1.5 million homeless. In October 2016, devastating Hurricane Matthew slammed into southwestern Haiti, affecting over 2.1 million people. Some of the damage is shown above.
Despite the billions in aid money given for Haiti over the years, conditions for the average Haitian have not improved. Why is this? One big reason is the funds given have not been invested wisely in Haitian leaders whose heart is for the people, leaders like Cebien Alexis, shown right. It’s time for a change!
Cebien Alexis sees the gospel as the only answer to Haiti’s problems. And he knows how best to apply it. Cebien came to the Lord as a boy through a Baptist missionary’s vacation Bible school. When he told his family, his father kicked him out of the house. With help from relatives, he completed high school, and Bible school as well. The Bible school taught not only the fundamentals of preaching, church history, and theology, but also many practical skills. Cebien absorbed it all. Then he enrolled in a correspondence course with a Swiss seminary. Following more study in Switzerland and the Ivory Coast, Cebien received a Doctoral Degree in plant-based medicine in 1979. But most of that he did in his spare time.
In 1971, after graduation from Bible school, Cebien launched into evangelism, impelled by the Lord to reach his people with the gospel. At age 27, Cebien used his last $12 to rent a run-down building in the town of Ile Adam and buy lumber for benches. He held his first evangelistic meetings and planted a church in that town with 11 newly saved people. Before the end of the year, 100 people were meeting regularly for worship.
From that small beginning, Cebien’s ministry, EBAC, known in English as Army of Christ, has borne great fruit. Cebien and his co-workers have raised up more than 200 churches in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In the process many witch doctors have come to Christ. An orphanage has been founded which has transformed the lives of hundreds of children. Cebien conducts evangelistic crusades four times a year. When possible, EBAC helps provide buildings for thriving churches. His ministry includes elementary schools and school lunch programs, business start-up projects for church members, and disaster relief. Faith Christian University, started by Cebien, provides training to Christian men and women in agriculture, nursing, environmental protection, and disaster risk assessment.
The Lord is using Cebien in powerful ways to win his people to Christ and help them improve their lives. He is known by most people in Haiti, including the powerful. At one time, he was asked to be Haiti’s ambassador to Germany but turned down the offer. His answer: “Why should I serve man when I can serve the King of kings?”
In June Christie and I and a small team will be visiting various ministry sites with Cebien in Haiti. It will be a great opportunity to see the work Cebien has been doing. HBI was blessed to send funds to aid in the relief work following Hurricane Matthew. We have sent funds for schools, building projects, pastoral support, economic development and the like. Now we will see first-hand how the funds have been utilized. We plan to bring funds with us that can be applied directly to the most urgent areas of need and opportunity. The more we can raise, the more we can directly support this excellent work. One current project Cebien is working on is the provision of 3 goats to families that lost everything in the hurricane. This will enable them to both earn income and provide sustenance to their families. By growing their flocks, they will be able to give young goats to other families. The cost is $200 per family.
Will you help us increase what can be done? Gifts can be given online at
www.hope-builders.org or sent in by check to PO Box 91359, Austin, TX 78709. Gifts received by May 30 will travel with us to Haiti and go directly into helping bring spiritual and holistic blessings to the Haitian people.
Let’s make an eternal investment now in this needy island, so close to home!
With love in Christ,
Lance & Christie Thollander