A Haitian woman (second from right) welcomes a Church of the Brethren delegation to her home, which was rebuilt by Brethren Disaster Ministries. The Brethren group visited during a celebration of the completion of the 100th home in Haiti. Below, a Haitian Church of the Brethren in the community of Fond Cheval. Photos by Wendy McFadden
A group of church leaders from the US traveled to Haiti June 4-8 to help Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) celebrate completion of the 100th home built by Brethren Disaster Ministries. The church was also celebrating a new Church of the Brethren guesthouse, which will be able to house workcamps.
The guesthouse sits on two-thirds of an acre in Croix des Bouquets, outside Port-au-Prince. A wall was built in November, and work began on the guesthouse in January. The group visiting from the US in June was the first to stay in the building, where plumbing and electrical hook-ups were being finished the day of the celebration.
“I want to thank God for this occasion to gather in this building,” said Klebert Exceus, who has led the building efforts in Haiti. “We give God the glory.”
The 100th home sits with two others just beyond the wall of the guesthouse. They are among 22 homes completed since January. People were expecting to move into the new homes throughout the month of June. Each house cost $7-8,000.
Several pastors and church leaders spoke at the celebration, which was held in the guesthouse and attended by a busload of Brethren from the two closest congregations. They asked the visitors to convey their thanks to supporters in the US. Jean Bily Telfort, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren in Haiti, recalled the days immediately after the January 2010 earthquake.
“There were people who were in tears, but today there is joy. We want to thank all the volunteers and supporters. We thank God for you.”
While in Haiti, the group from the US church worshiped with several congregations and visited communities in Port-au-Prince, Fond Cheval, Morne Boulage, Gonaives, and Bohok. They saw a number of the houses built by Brethren Disaster Ministries, and visited with some of the recipients of these homes.
“We have traveled here from the US to celebrate the many accomplishments God is doing here among you in Haiti,” said Andy Hamilton during his sermon on Sunday morning at the Delmas church in Port-au-Prince. “Every time I hear the stories I am encouraged. Your faith has an effect on my small congregation in Akron, Ohio. We hold you in prayer constantly.”
The delegation from the US included representatives from Church of the Brethren staff, the Mission and Ministry Board, the district executives, the Haiti Advisory Group, and disaster auctions.
— Wendy McFadden is publisher and executive director of Brethren Press.