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As this ministry season comes to a close, it is time to anticipate 2017-2018. There will be much to celebrate.
2017 is the 500th anniversary of our tradition of Christianity. The Reformation is traced back to October 31, 1517 when a monk named Martin Luther publicized his struggles with the church of his day by nailing 95 statements of concern on a church door in Wittenberg Germany. This reformation came in many versions. Luther’s followers are called Lutherans, we hold the label Reformed and stand in the tradition of John Calvin, and we have close cousins in Britain called Presbyterians. Reformation apparently is addictive, however, and this compulsion to reform by separating carried on producing Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, and eventually Pentecostals each with about a dozen strains within them. Just among us Reformed types in North America we have Christian Reformed, Reformed Church of America, Protestant Reformed, Canadian Reformed, Netherlands Reformed, Free Reformed, Orthodox Reformed and United Reformed. There is a story behind every one of these strains; each story includes sin-filled struggle and a hope for a better tomorrow. This is our story; these are our roots. Read more
Another key player in the Jacmel region is Pastor Andrenord Joseph, the pastor of the Timouaj church where we worshipped. He also traveled with us to a couple of the other churches. He is the regional leader of the Jacmel churches. He was discipled into pastoral leadership by Pastor Elihu so they have a long deep connection.
In two of the churches we met young leaders who had obvious leadership calling and potential. In Lamontay the lead pastor was out of the country so many of our questions were ably answered by a young teacher who made his way up the mountain every Saturday and Sunday by motorcycle to help out with the ministry. His name is Pierre Emmanuel and we saw in him a bright future for Lamontay. We had the privilege of giving him a ride down the mountain after our meeting and connecting with him more.
In the other mountain church, Mowo, we also met a young leader named Etienne Belour. We made it clear to him as well that we anticipate hearing his input into the future of that community as it was obvious that he has both the passion and potential to grow in his leadership of that community. One of the challenges for all the churches is keeping young leaders around and so investing in these younger guys seems like an important step.
Finally, we met Troy and Jackson at the Sous Espwa offices. They gave us orientation to how our denominational work interacts in Haiti. The basic theme was “we want to empower Haitians to renew Haiti.
The only non-Haitian we connected with was Zach King, and I won’t tell you too much about him since he is on his way out of Haiti. Assuming Synod approves him, he will be the head of the new combined Mission agency. We look forward to working with Zach’s successor in Haiti.
We were glad to meet and experience so many capable people on our trip. It was our impression that each of then shared our desire for a healthy partnership and all were willing to be patient in building the foundation of that relationship.