I recently returned from a trip to Haiti where I spoke at a Leadership Conference in Mariane. Mariane is about a one-to-two-hour drive (depending on traffic) from the capital of Port au Prince and where the Christian Haitian Outreach orphanage is located. This four-day event was sponsored and organized by Pastor Jarman Esperance, one of our Thrive pastors from the Chicago area.
Others included on the team were Pastors Rich Valkanet and Dick Hart, who helped with preaching and teaching. The theme for the conference was taken from Ecclesiastes 11:6: “Let us plant diligently for the Lord as the Day approaches.”
Pastor Jarman hosted a similar conference last year with 170 pastors and leaders attending. This year, we planned for 200; over 300 showed up to learn, worship, and fellowship. They came from all over the island in buses, work trucks, and on foot.
The Christian Haitian Outreach orphanage houses about 60 orphans. The complex includes a good-sized church building, classrooms and living quarters. Jarman and Mary love these kids as if they were their own; it was touching to watch them interact with these sweet and appreciative children.
Thanks to Anne Blanchard and Illinois Women’s Missions, 200 French-language Global University books were purchased for distribution to the pastors, along with certificates of completion. It was the first study book some of them have ever owned.
I couldn’t have made this trip without the help of so many of you. Special thanks to New Life Media, Maranatha Chapel in Evergreen Park, and Living Waters Assembly in Grayslake for their help. Their generosity helped to feed everyone who attended the conference.
Others who gave:
Lake of the Woods Church in Mahomet
Tri-City Assembly in Granite City
Riverside Assembly in Rockford
River Oaks Community Church in South Holland
Dennis and Judy Pickrel
Dick and Barb Hart
It was a privilege to serve these Haitian leaders in a small way. They, in turn, blessed me.