By Gary Fallesen
President, Climbing For Christ
Looking back at the mission to Haiti, which began when the Lord led us to a village in the Chaine de la Selle mountains in the summer of 2005, “our big work is the people God used us to bring from death to life,” Climbing For Christ missionary Miguel Rubén Guante said this week.
There have been the physical healings:
- Gilbert, a young boy whose leg was broken and turned to life-threatening gangrene in 2007 in a place where there was no medical care (Gentilhomme) until he was found by Miguel. He was rescued, his leg amputated, and his life saved.
- Donya, a woman who was struck by lightning in 2008 and survived several months before a C4C medical team set up in Malasi was led to her home in the nearby hills. She was healed by God before undergoing surgery.
- Carmen, an older woman unable to eat and nearly choking on an oral tumor the size of a grapefruit when a C4C mission team met her in Thoman in 2011. She had the hideous growth surgically removed.
- Saintela, a woman from near Malasi with an oral tumor similar to Carmen’s came to a medical clinic in 2012. She underwent surgery this year.
Each of these people was rescued by God using Climbing For Christ. All the while C4C was:
The temporary church at Mare Pitre. (Photo by Miguel Rubén Guante)
- Building churches (in Gentilhomme, Malasi, Thoman, a temporary structure in Mare Pitre, and a house of worship under construction in the Haitian community living in Jimani, Dominican Republic) and building up the church.
- Conducting a monthly seminary to train mostly uneducated pastors and church leaders from a dozen villages.
- Supporting teachers and schools in four villages.
- Providing agricultural assistance and delivering food during the dry seasons.
- Delivering systems for clean water and sanitation that would help the health of the people, if used properly.
- Conducting a dozen short-term mission trips involving 25 Climbing For Christ members to share the love of Jesus.
When we first went to Haiti in 2005, the country was in chaos. Many organizations and ministries had left the Caribbean island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti because of the political crisis in the latter.
During mission presentations to raise funds for the work in Haiti, we often needed to explain to people where Haiti was located. Some thought it was in Africa, not a 90-minute plane ride from the United States.
The 2010 earthquake that devastated the Port-au-Prince area (but was not felt nor known about in the mountains where we minister) put Haiti on the First World’s radar. People learned it was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Support for earthquake relief poured in – although not to Climbing For Christ, which directed people wanting to help that emergency to organizations serving in Port-au-Prince.
We have continued to raise funding through the years for work in the mountains – usually against all odds.
Climbing For Christ has some dedicated members and supporters who have a burden for Haiti. This small group has shouldered most of the load for several years.
As 2014 began, we found ourselves needing to help farmers, seeking expensive medical treatment for Saintela (we still owe $1,250 for her surgery and hospital care in Santo Domingo, DR), and continuing all the ongoing work. Miguel has spent a good deal of time ministering in Mare Pitre, a village the Lord took him to in 2012. “The old place of a voodoo chief turned into a God place,” he has called it.
The monthly need for Mission: Haiti ranges from $2,500-$4,000, including a $696-a-month payment for a truck we can no longer afford (unless donors are led to help us).
As we discern our next moves in Haiti – while attempting to keep the mission from financially ruining C4C – our goals for the second half of 2014 are:
The church in need at Soliette. (Photo by Miguel Rubén Guante)
- Building a temporary structure for the church at Soliette. Pastor Italian, who rarely has missed the monthly seminary in seven years, has waited since 2006 for help with his church. The church was destroyed by a horrific flood that killed thousands in 2004. Relief funds ran out before the Soliette church build could be completed. The church (and for many years a school) have met in an unfinished church for eight years. A cost estimate for this structure has not been completed, but at least $2,000 is needed to start the project.
- Building a new home for a woman with two daughters who also have children in Malasi. This project was born out of a Vacation Bible School fundraising effort at First United Methodist Church in Canon City, CO, USA. This church – the home church of C4C board member and Mission: Haiti veteran Dr. Steve Quakenbush – has been a devoted supporter to the work in Haiti. The VBS children raised $830.34. But about $2,700 was the estimated need to build the house.
- Continuing the construction of the church at Jimani. This project is funded by our brothers and sisters in Canon City.
The needs in Haiti have always been exhausting. Not only is the country desperately poor, but it is spiritually impoverished – with an unholy blending of Christianity and voodoo. This religious syncretism has plagued the country since it gained independence in 1804. We battle against this present darkness and the spiritual forces of evil, seeking to deliver the bread of life to a starving people.
How can YOU help?
- Pray for the mission to Haiti.
- Give financially to the costly work being done in Haiti.
- Go to Haiti later in the year. Email info@ClimbingForChrist.org for a mission application.
To support the work in Haiti, send a donation to Climbing For Christ, c/o Helping Hands: Haiti, P.O. Box 16290, Rochester, NY 14616-0290 USA. Or CLICK HERE and give online via PayPal.