Supporting our legacy in Haiti
By Gary Fallesen
, founding president, Climbing For Christ
Gilbert delivers food to Pastor Paul of Gentilhomme on Oct. 31.
The 14-year-old Haitian boy that God used Climbing For Christ to rescue from the jaws of death is now a 23-year-old man with a heart to serve the LORD who saved him.
Climbing For Christ officially pulled out of Haiti in April 2015 after many months of prayer and a fact-finding trip in November 2013. The main reason centered on our primary purpose, which is to GO and deliver the Gospel in the mountains of the world where other missionaries cannot or will not go
. We were called to the Chaine de la Salle mountains of Haiti in 2005, when no one was ministering there. By 2014 there were full-time missionaries living in one village and a clinic opened in another (near the village where we provided the only medical aid for many years).
A lack of fruit (Luke 13:6-9
), a history of great financial demand from this mission field (where we built three churches and for more than eight years met agricultural, education, medical and water needs), and — finally — inappropriate use of funding by our indigenous worker accelerated the exit.
However, we did not leave Gilbert Lindor behind. He was the boy rescued in the mountain village of Gentilhomme 27 days after he’d broken his leg. He was suffering from gangrene in that leg and was three days shy of death — his father having already dug Gilbert’s grave. He lost his leg, but had his soul saved.
Climbing For Christ has continued to support Gilbert, who is finishing high school in the Dominican Republic and this year followed the Spirit’s leading to do mission work across the border into Haiti.
It began Easter weekend, when he shared: “although it was very heavy, our mission in Haiti was (an immeasurable) blessing because five people accepted Jesus Christ, including two witches.”
Shortly thereafter, Gilbert proposed re-starting the school in Gentilhomme (something Climbing For Christ had begun and supported for many years). “I felt very bad when I get to Gentilhomme seeing those boys who cannot even learn and write your name,” he said. “I ask help of any way to pay a teacher and teach these children to read and write. The teacher Mathurin is still in Gentilhomme, if we cannot find another (person to teach). If you find people who want to work on that … just say how and when we do. Now I can read and write the Creole, thanks to God and His work in Haiti.”
That school is set to open this week inside one of the village’s churches.
Gilbert and Mathurin in Gentilhomme.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the 20 poorest nations in the world. It has a history plagued by voodoo and spiritual oppression. It has endured devastating natural disasters, such as the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew in October.
The southwestern “claw” of Haiti, where Category 4 Matthew killed hundreds, had been visited by Gilbert in July. He was blessed to help lead eight people to Christ. Now Gilbert wants to return to that area.
“I and my ministry team, we are very worried because after the hurricane we should go on a mission and bring possible help in some parts of Haiti,” Gilbert said. “Many were victims of the hurricane, especially where I went to the mission and many accepted Christ. For that we are knocking on the door and to see how we can help some families. What I want to say is that we are asking if there is possibility that (C4C can help) us in anything because we will need clothing, food, and building materials.”
We were with Gilbert on Mission: Haiti 2007 when he returned to Gentilhomme for the first time only a few months after losing his leg. It was a God moment. But I remember when poor Gilbert fell from the horse carrying him down the steep mountain trail, his head bloodied from the hard landing.
Gilbert being treated for a head injury in December 2007.
We were with him in Colorado in 2009 when a prosthetic leg was generously built for him by a former Paralympic skier. The leg did not work well enough for Gilbert when he returned to the mountainous terrain on the Caribbean island he calls home, so he went back to supporting his one good leg with crutches. He even played football (soccer in America) on crutches.
That’s how he still gets around, climbing to Gentilhomme and other villages on crutches, his heart burdened for the many lost souls in his homeland. We have seen what God is doing in and through Gilbert, which is why we continue to support him.
Gilbert has lived on his own the past few years. He uses whatever funding we can provide to help two other children Climbing For Christ ministered to, Sainte-Anne Paul and Miche Fleurisme, who are now teen-agers. Miche lives near Gilbert and Sainte-Anne is in Haiti living with a pastor’s family.
Gilbert and Sainte-Anne on Nov. 4, above, and Miche in September, below.
Leaving Haiti was a difficult, but clear decision. Seeing God continue the work through those we were blessed to bless fills us with gratitude. This is our legacy.
In The Climbing Way
(Volume 36, September 2016) we ran the photo below of Gilbert, left, and his friends under the headline, “Missionaries: The next generation.”
Gilbert and his friends (his “ministry team,” as he calls it) visit villages, schools and hospitals every month to deliver the love of Jesus. “As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”
, ESV). In Gilbert’s case, how beautiful is the foot.
Please pray for brother Gilbert and the church in Haiti, may you be “the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden”
, NIV). Give to support the ongoing work there by sending a donation to Climbing For Christ c/o Haiti, P.O. Box 16290, Rochester, NY 14616. Or CLICK HERE
and give online via PayPal. In Canada, make checks payable to The Great Commission Foundation, and on the memo line add Climbing For Christ CANADA c/o Haiti. Mail your support to: The Great Commission Foundation, #3 – 1335 Trans Canada Way SE, Medicine Hat, AB T1B 1J1. Or give online at https://53997.thankyou4caring.org/responsive-partner-donation-pages/climbing-for-christ-donation-page. In the Comments box write: “C/O Haiti.”