Haiti Trip Report – Time for God’s Kingdom to Burst Forth
A team from Hope Builders International traveled to Haiti in February to visit the ministry of Cebien Alexis. As many Americans know, Haiti has seen years and years of economic and political distress, due to poor, corrupt, and ever changing governmental leadership. More than half of the population is trapped in the darkness of voodoo. Though rich in beauty and resources, poverty is rampant. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. 60% of Haitians live below the poverty line. Leaders of integrity are needed to transform the country. That is why we partner with Pastor Cebien.
Cebien has planted 200 churches in Haiti and among Haitians in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island to the east. Through his tireless work in his medical clinic, Cebien supports pastors and teachers and ministry work in a multitude of ways. In addition, he is the leader of a Haitian pastors’ network of over 1000 ministers.
During this visit Lance and Jim Witkower taught at a mini-conference for pastors in Cebien’s church network, called EBAC. We prepared Bible ministry booklets in Creole to give to the pastors. Two more booklets are ready to be translated into Creole and given out when funds are available. In an encouraging note, the pastors offered their personal funds to cover a similar conference in the future. On this trip, our friend Mark Bodycombe, also brought two friends to explore possibilities for building projects. We have all been moved by Cebien’s faithfulness to the vision and calling the Lord gave him many years ago.
As on our first visit, we witnessed firsthand Cebien’s radically self-sacrificial lifestyle. As pastors gathered for the conference, coming at all hours of the night, Cebien would greet them and leave his bed to sleep beside them on the floor of the clinic. One night of the conference, after the pastors were served dinner, he stayed up all night talking to them and hearing their concerns – then the next day, translated for Lance during the conference.
We stayed on the grounds of the EBAC orphanage receiving wonderful care from Cebien’s family, like his niece Yolene, shown right, with our friend Ann Witkower and Christie. Cebien’s son Campbell, who grew up in the States, is there now to help his dad and learn about the ministry. Cebien’s daughter and son-in-law, Alexis and Mike Swittel, also joined us for a couple of days. They are helping with projects both at the University and at the orphanage. It was a joy to meet them all.
Cebien’s passion is for evangelism and church planting. On top of that, he knows education is a major need if Haitians are to improve their lives. Cebien’s Faith Christian University has programs in administration, nursing, alternative medicine, and theology. Campbell and Cebien’s nephew Julien, havealso planted a model farm on the University grounds. They plan to teach church pastors and membershow to raise their own corn and vegetables. Every summer, youth from the churches come to the University for a month-long camp where they learn vocational skills. Currently they sleep on the concrete floors of the dormitory rooms. 200 mattresses are needed to keep them off the hard floor. They cost $60 each.
On a fun note, we had a unique opportunity to attend a Haitian thanksgiving feast. A month prior, one of Cebien’s church members was paralyzed by a stroke and could not speak. The Lord healed her, so she and her husband gave testimony to the Lord’s faithfulness. The feast included lots of music, Scripture, and testimonies. Cebien gave a message comparing this feast to the actions of Mary after Lazarus was healed. It was a joyful event!
We were able to bring funds to provide goats for rural families, lay the foundation for a rural church building and home for a pastor, and to meet other ministry needs. Pastor Villet, who lives in Gommier, hasbeen living outdoors in his garden for the past two years since Hurricane Matthew destroyed 80% of the buildings in 2016. HBI was able to send funds to Cebien for metal roofs to repair homes there. The metal sheets were stored on Pastor Villet’s property, whose home and church building were also destroyed. Pastor Villet used none of the roofing himself. Now, thanks to HBI donors, Cebien will begin construction of a new church building with a home at the back for this servant of God. Our hope is to raise the funds needed to finish this church/home.
Cebien also supports income-producing projects. A prime example is the goat project. For $200 a family receives 3 goats which provide them with milk and over time, enables them to sell the baby goats. Many families have already received goats through HBI support with more waiting.
It is so encouraging to see how funds given through our HBI donors help advance the Lord’s work in Haiti.Though this nation is broken in many ways, the Gospel is bringing wholeness and healing to many. This beautiful island was made to sing forth the glories of God. Please join us in supporting this place of true potential for the Kingdom of God. To give online, visit www.hope-builders.org where you can designate gifts for items like booklet translation, mattresses, or the goat project on our contribution page. Gifts can also be sent to PO Box 91359, Austin, TX 78739 and designated for Pastor Cebien Alexis.
With love in Christ,
Lance & Christie Thollander