Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ (and fellow supporters of Charis):
On my “to-do” list this morning (Saturday, August 11, 2018) was to review the enclosed letter from Malcolm Henderson and provide comment and input before it was published and mailed. But ahead of that task was my devotion and prayer time. During that time, I read in Genesis 24 where Abraham sent his oldest and most trusted servant to seek a wife for his son Isaac in the land of his ancestors. The servant prayed a very specific prayer for God to show him the right woman for his master’s son. God very obviously and immediately answered his prayer as Rebekah arrived on the scene in a very specific way. Yet, the servant was skeptical of God’s answer. In verse 21: “The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether the Lord had prospered his journey or not.” This struck me as odd – why did he not praise God for answering his prayer? But as I thought of this a bit more, I realized it was a very human response and there are many other examples of skeptical responses to answered prayer (see for example the story of Gideon in Judges chapter 6).
Then I read Malcolm’s letter. I recalled how, a few years ago, I had recommitted my life to Christ and pledged to serve Him wherever and however he called. After a season of prayer I met Malcolm quite “randomly” in a coffee shop near my house. But, like Abraham’s servant and Gideon and so many more, I was still skeptical that God had really answered my prayer.
Many, if not all, of you who have received this correspondence, have also met Malcolm or Joy or perhaps someone connected with this ministry in a very “random” fashion. As a result, you also have become involved in this ministry in some way through directly participating in missions, through physical or financial support or, more importantly, through prayer. Perhaps you were praying for such a meeting as I was and caught a bit off guard when it occurred. I have heard many stories of such “randomness” over the past 5 years!
But, here is something I know for sure: our God does not function in “randomness”. When we submit to serving Him, he will answer this prayer of submission. He is the Master Weaver of our lives, our times, and our relationships. As Malcolm asserts in his letter, God operates in the realm of divine appointments. Thus, there is a very specific reason you became involved in some way in this ministry. It was by divine appointment. Likewise, there is a very specific reason you have received this letter – it is a divine appointment.
Thus, it is with brotherly love in Christ that I admonish you to pray a very simple, but specific prayer before you read: Lord, open my mind and heart so that I might hear you speak to me as I read this letter from Malcolm. Amen.” Then, take a moment to read the enclosed letter from Malcolm in its entirety – it is of extreme importance at this crucial time to the Charis ministry. So many of the newly faithful in Haiti are at a crossroads. The situation is critical.
Now before you read any more of my note, please set aside a time to pray and read the note from Malcolm….
Have you read it now?
Were you encouraged, as I was, by all that God is doing through these humble and obedient servants?
Do you understand that whatever God lays on your heart to give will be highly impactful directly to those who need it the most? I know of no other ministry that is as directly impactful for Christ.
If you ask me what the greatest needs are so that you can give specifically, I will be honest and tell you the need for giving is greatest in two areas: 1) routine/regular giving, and 2) general giving.
Routine, rather than “one time” gifts so that the ministry can know month-by-month what they can budget and what they can depend upon. General giving versus specific giving because this greatly simplifies their financial accounting and gives them the freedom to make decisions “on the ground” and “on the spot” as they are prayerfully led by the Holy Spirit, rather than being constrained by a directed gift.
But, whatever and however you decide to give, please know that the Charis ministry and the people of Haiti are blessed because of it and you will be doing it “unto the least of these” and thus as unto Christ.
Thank you my dear brothers and sisters!
Charis Board of Directors
Dear Charis Family,
I wanted to write to all of you, our friends whom God has joined to this ministry, with words that God has put heavily on my heart to share with all of you. This is an important letter that I pray all of you take seriously and consider in its entirety. The timing of this letter is secondary to the rapid growth of the ministry in terms of the number of Haitians coming to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and being literally taken from the hands of demons! I can say with sure confidence that many of us never thought that we would be taking part in a ministry focused on directly defeating demons in the greatest demonic stronghold in the world—Haiti. We should all rightly consider it an absolute honor to be assigned to this country where a great war for the souls of men has been ongoing for hundreds of years. In the area of Haiti that God has placed us, Satan has enjoyed a mostly unopposed existence that he has taken full advantage of as he spiritually captured and physically devastated the Haitian people whose only ‘fault’ was simply being born in this country. With that said, we have a responsibility to those whom God places in our path. It is no mistake that my family and I are living and working in Haiti. Additionally, the fact that you are reading this letter and known by this ministry is evidence that God has assigned you to Haiti also. Joy and I are blessed to have you all as co-workers in this field that is ripe with fruit, but this fruit can only be harvested by unified hands—your hands joined together with ours!
The current situation on the ground in Haiti is cause for both celebration and weeping. While these verbs appear to contradict one another, they subsist within a daily, coexistent reality for our new Haitian believers that have been rescued out of vodou. Celebration is in order due to the immense outpouring of the Holy Spirit in one of the darkest countries in this world where Satan erroneously thought that he had God in a checkmate when it came to what he perceived as a sure victory over the souls of these Haitian men and women. That was until the gospel showed up through this ministry and began to eradicate Satan’s power and lies that have spiritually imprisoned the people for centuries. While this is grounds for joyous celebration, there is an unfortunate reality to salvation in Haiti that gives us reason to weep. The causes of weeping are the physical realities that grasp hold of every vodouist when they leave their demons and run into the arms of Christ. As you all well know by now, when practitioners of vodou turn their lives over to Christ they lose their ‘job’, and thus enter a life of extreme poverty, physical desperation, and public shunning. All the people within the respective community who had depended on the magic, sorcery, divination and necromancy of the now saved vodou priest, are furious that they can no longer utilize the power of the demon that was available through him. Thus, vodou priests who have been saved face an incredibly difficult existence as they have no income, can’t buy adequate amounts of food to support their families, can’t afford to send their children to school, are ostracized by the whole community, and even have violence committed against them by those who previously had depended on their dark spiritual services. This set of facts is the reason behind my writing this letter.
Before we go any further, I believe that it would be beneficial for all of you to know how this looks on the ground by allowing you to step onto the field with us through the reading of these words. Most of you know Deba who I have written about extensively secondary to her miraculous salvation and now powerful evangelism efforts to her family and community that is producing spiritual fruit above and beyond our greatest expectations. Deba’s aunt was a vodou priestess named Madam Baslais, and she accepted the Lord shortly after Deba did. As a result of her conversion her husband, who practiced vodou too, left her. She had children that she was now responsible for and now had no income. We met with her and discovered that her desire was to start a small street store where she could stand out every day and sell various goods to people passing (this is a very common thing to do in Haiti to earn money). We therefore provided her with 300 American dollars (a large amount of money in Haiti), to buy the needed materials to start her small business that would sustain her and her children. This went well for several weeks, but the small amounts of money that she would earn daily just covered food costs, and she couldn’t amass enough money quickly enough to cover the costs of her children’s school. We again stepped in and helped her with our personal money, but her frustration grew as the money coming in was just enough to cover food and nothing more. Over several months she fell further and further into despair and, to make a long story short, she made the decision to return to vodou. She lives on the same piece of land that Deba does and she has started practicing black magic on this property to the great delight of the surrounding community. So what had been a vodou camp entirely won for Christ, now has a demonic conduit that has been re-established through the vodou performed by Madam Baslais, and this is all secondary to the extreme hardship that she experienced after accepting Christ.
Deba recently fell very ill, and whether this was a spiritual attack on her life or a physical illness remains unknown but considering that her aunt is now practicing vodou on the property, there is a high likelihood that there was a powerful spiritual component to this. Deba’s illness began with high volume bleeding, and then progressed to her coughing up blood and experiencing extreme pain in her chest, back, and pelvis to the point that she couldn’t get out of bed. Deba’s little business provides for her financially, but just to the extent of basic necessities leaving no room for medical emergencies. This situation obviously required inpatient hospital care, which is both lacking and expensive in Haiti. So we utilized donated money and to pay for several blood transfusions, IV medications, her hospital stay and the doctor’s fees which ended up totaling a little over 500 American dollars. She is doing very well now as we continue to pray for her sustained health and spiritual protection as her zealous evangelism has surely resulted in her being on Satan’s most wanted list! As an aside, just to show you what an incredible woman of God Deba is, she saw her sickness and recovery as a testimony of God’s faithfulness and love toward her. She told us that this created a strong desire within her heart to walk around her community to knock on doors and share this healing testimony with others in an effort to win them to the Lord. Within a week of her recovery she had visited over 40 people and is still going! How many of us would have considered our sickness in this way and allowed God to use it for His glory? I am continually humbled by the faith of the Haitian people.
These are just two examples of the hundreds of new believers for whom we have assumed the role of spiritual parents. Couple this with the countless numbers of non-believers who we encounter on the street or in the villages who are hungry and haven’t eaten in days, sick with no ability to purchase medication, pregnant with anemia and malnutrition, or in bondage to demons through vodou. As all of you can surely appreciate, doing God’s work in this very impoverished, developing country is definitely overwhelming and exhausting and could easily, over time, produce a sense of hopelessness in the heart of the missionary. With that said, Joy and I strongly believe that everyone who God puts in our path over the course of a given day presents as our assignment and Divine appointment, and He expects our reaction to lie in accordance and obedience to His Word, specifically Matthew 25 and Isaiah 58:
“Come you who are blessed by My Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you took care of Me; I was in prison and you visited Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’” -Matthew 25:34-40
“Will the fast I choose be like this: A day for a person to deny himself, to bow his head like a reed, and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast and a day acceptable to the Lord? Isn’t this the fast I choose: To break the chains of wickedness, to untie the ropes of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to tear off every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house, to clothe the naked when you see him, and not to ignore your own flesh and blood? Then your light will appear like the dawn, and your recovery will come quickly. Your righteousness will go before you and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard. At that time, when you call, the Lord will answer; when you cry out, He will say, ‘Here I am.’ -Isaiah 58:5-9a
As you can see from the above two verses, God takes our service to the poor as both an extension of His hand through ours, and a literal representation of our love for Him. If we view this Biblically, what an honor it is to work with the poor, because in doing so we can show God’s love to the world and directly serve Him at the same time. Too often within our affluent society we know this and we have intentions to get around to it, but our lives get swallowed up by schedules, worldly obligations, jobs, family, and entertainment and before we know it we are at the end of our life and we die with a mind that was full of good intentions but a life that was full of ourselves. Many believe that Sodom was destroyed secondary to sexual sin, but Ezekiel tells us differently, and his words are relevant to this conversation and hopefully they are heeded:
“Now this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters had pride, plenty of food, and comfortable security, but didn’t support the poor and needy.” -Ezekiel 16:49
Many people just don’t know how to get started in this type of life—one in which we serve the poor and care for their needs. The great news is that no one reading this has this problem because you have been exposed to and are a part of this ministry that is focused on the poorest people on this side of the world. It gives me great joy to look at the lists presented above in Matthew 25 and Isaiah 58 and know that Charis consistently and passionately performs all of these things. Charis feeds the hungry, provides water to the thirsty, clothes and bathes any naked orphan children we find wandering on the street, provides medicine and surgical care for the sick, and visits those in the local prisons bringing them food and the words of the gospel. Additionally, we break life binding spiritual chains of wickedness through the words of the gospel, and we have literally brought the poor into our home and gave them a bed to sleep in, a bath, and food. I say all of this not to brag, but rather to reveal how absolutely serious this ministry is about obeying the words of Scripture which is pleasing to God and ensures that He will come and make His home with this ministry, (“Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” -John 14:23). I also want to show you where your money is going—to bringing the Words of our Lord to spiritual and material fruition in Haiti; so through your giving you are also feeding the poor, clothing them, bathing them, caring for the sick, visiting the imprisoned and bringing the suffering into your homes! Joy and I are simply an extension of you, because without your prayers and support we could effectively do none of this. Missions is not an individual endeavor embarked upon by a few special people who go and physically live in other countries to bring the gospel to them, but rather a collective, unified effort of the Church of Jesus Christ consisting of all of the individual believers who God assigns to the respective ministries. We are all a team, a family of called missionaries who are all focused on saving souls and providing for those in Haiti, and membership of this team is irrespective of whether you are physically on the ground in Haiti or supporting and praying for the ministry from home! Thank you for partnering with us!
Here is why I am especially burdened with the needs related to our Divine appointment at present: Your support of this ministry is crucial right now as the numbers of those being saved and those in desperate need are beginning to surpass our ability to maintain effective levels of support for our many Haitian brothers and sisters. Just imagine the level of hopelessness you would experience if your child was starving to death in front of you and there was nothing you could do about it. Imagine being stricken with sudden appendicitis and because there is no accessible medical care you lay there waiting to die. Many of us can’t even begin to imagine this because words like starvation are so distant from our culture and reality that true empathy couldn’t even be realistically mustered. I humbly want to make a request of all of you that will follow two pre-requisite considerations. First, what in our lives could we realistically live without, and secondly let’s look at what we are supporting in God’s kingdom work here on earth.
Let’s for a moment consider the reality of our lives in America. If we were to compare our lives with those living in developing countries around the world, including Haiti, it would be very obvious that what they consider to be unattainable luxuries are sadly our necessities. Let’s look at some of the things that we view as ‘necessities’ that are so normal and expected in our lives in America that we take them for granted on a day to day basis. Such things would include: air conditioning, heat, clean water running from our taps, washing machines and dryers, mattresses, medicine for headaches, acid reflux, allergies, colds, pain, etc., flushing toilets, continuous electricity, lights at night, grocery stores full of food, emergency rooms, hospitals, televisions, hot water, libraries, free public education, garbage removal services, automobiles, homes, police protection, etc. etc. I could continue, but for the sake of time and space I will stop there.
The experience gained by living in Haiti gives me credibility when writing such a list as nearly everyone in our area of ministry whom we live amongst has absolutely no experience with any item on that list! This is no exaggeration, and while you may find this to be unbelievable, I can assure you, from personal experience, that life in Haiti is one that endures in the continual face of extreme adversity and desperate need. As we in America exist in such excess and elevated standards of living I often wonder what God thinks of how we view and utilize our blessings in America as Christians? God has equipped us in such an exorbitant way, and the question that must be asked is “for what purpose?”.
The Biblical truth that many of us don’t want to confront or acknowledge is that our blessings, whether they be financial, intellectual, oratorical, or physical, are not meant to improve and enhance our material existence on earth, but rather to go to those who don’t know that Jesus died for them and use our gifts with a sense of urgency to ensure that they do! This passion and eagerness for evangelism should be ushered into our hearts by the Holy Spirit at the moment of our new birth, as a devotion to share the gospel at any cost with the world inherently exists within the newly regenerated hearts and minds of saved men and women—not by choice, but rather by Divine bestowal. This leaves us with a sad truth: if this devotion, passion, and commitment to sharing the gospel with others does not exist within us, then our Christianity has become a cheap impersonation where everyone is fooled, including ourselves, but God isn’t, and His Word still stands upon a solid foundation of wrath and redemption—wrath awaiting unbelievers, and Christian posers; redemption awaiting those who live lives that reveal the truth of their regeneration and new birth. With our sure desire to want to live as Biblical Christians and not fall into worldly deceptions, let’s view our lives for a moment and ask what in our lives are excessive and thus could do without. I have personally made this inquiry of myself, and when you get alone with God, honestly consider your life, and confess your excesses to Him it will surely shame you as it has me. How much do you spend on the following every month? Fandango, Hulu, Netflix, Apple Music, Amazon Prime, Roku, E-book subscriptions, I-phone for life contracts, magazine/newspaper subscriptions, gym memberships, coffee drinks, restaurants, entertainment, manicures/pedicures, new clothes, new shoes, etc. How many items on your monthly bank statements are set up to come out automatically (Netflix, Apple music, etc.), and you don’t even realize it after several months. I say all of this not to place a guilt trip on anyone, or to coerce anyone to get rid of everything, but rather to look at how much we spend on futile things for ourselves versus how much we give to the lost and suffering in Haiti.
Now I know that many of you do give monthly and thus you are not the ones I am speaking to here as we are very grateful and thankful for your commitment to this ministry. There are many of you though, and forgive me for this blunt honesty, that get our newsletters, see the incredible fruit that is being harvested from this ministry, and even personally know some of our vodou converts in Haiti from being with us on mission trips, but you don’t support the ministry financially. I know this may anger some of you as you will accuse me of crossing the line here, but please hear me out because I think that it will shock you when you see how little it takes to be a financial blessing to Haiti. There are currently between 1400 and 1500 people on our mailing list. If we do the math, all it would take is everyone agreeing to give 10 or 20 dollars every month which would bless the ministry greatly. For less money than is required for a manicure or t-shirt from your favorite sports team, you can effectively join hands with this ministry in a way that will greatly alleviate both spiritual and physical suffering in Haiti. Your decision to do this will result in the blessing of being our coworkers on the field, and this is how God views this. Remember Pauls’ words to his friend Gaius in response to Gaius’ decision to support the missionaries that passed through his area:
“You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God, since they set out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from pagans. Therefore, we ought to support such people so that we can be coworkers with the truth.”
-3 John 6-8.
Lastly, let us briefly consider the popular ‘missions’ that most Christians support monthly. A lot has been exposed about so called ‘Christian missions’, and ‘Christian organizations’ who do international work. I am not moved by the Spirit to directly identify any of these organizations by name because anyone can do the research on their own, but there are very large international organizations claiming to be Christian who utilize donations in unfortunate ways. This occurs in two common ways: administrative costs and CEO salaries. Administrative costs of some organizations will really surprise anyone who looks into it. I have seen Christian organizations with administrative costs consuming 70% of donations. This means that for every dollar one gives only 30 cents goes to the cause of ministry that the money was donated towards. Also, some of the CEO salaries of Christian organizations will dumbfound even non-Christians. One very well-known CEO of a very popular Christian organization was listed as accepting a salary of over a million dollars a year, and I personally find this behavior unacceptable when this organization’s claimed purpose is to reach out to those who are suffering in abject poverty in spiritually unreached regions. A third thing to consider is how unreachable the CEO’s, and founders of these organizations are, which makes for a very non-intimate relationship between the donor and the organization.
To contrast this, Charis functions in a way that is very different than some of these popular ministries. Many of you know that all of the money you donate to us goes to the field. I say this because we have countless donors who request that their donations go towards aiding a particular prayer family, or towards the building of a church for a group of new believers in a village, or towards the medical expenses of one of our leaders who has fallen ill and needs an operation. That money goes exactly where you want it to go, and we have many donors who can vouch for this. As far as CEO/founder salaries go, we receive money from a few sources who know that their money is going toward our family and our day to day needs. To be totally transparent, I receive a check for 3000 dollars every month. We have 4 children, 2 who are now in college, and we live between the U.S. and Haiti. We have no home in the U.S. and so we stay in missionary homes that are spread throughout the country and availability is first come first serve, so we never really know where we will be living year to year. Our vehicle has been donated to us and as a family we drive everywhere that we speak or present, secondary to airline costs being so high. I say all of this to ensure you that we live humbly. Joy and I believe that this is an absolute necessity if we are to be called true servants of God. Living humbly, not lavishly or excessively, is vital in our excessive culture if we are truly to represent Christ and live lives that are set apart from the culture that surrounds us. You never want your lifestyle to compromise your witness to the world as the world of unbelievers could rightfully ask a Christian why they live excessively when there are people in the world who can’t eat and need to know Jesus—shouldn’t our money go there and not to over- priced cars, over-sized homes, and excessive lifestyles? Finally, the one thing that Joy and I pride ourselves in is our relationship with all of you. We are very accessible, and I do my best to answer every one of your emails personally, whether it is a Biblical question, an inquiry about missions, or just a friendly letter to catch up. We also give you the ability to have personal relationships with Haitian men, women, and children. It blesses our hearts when we are out at a speaking engagement or dinner and one of you approaches us to ask about someone in Haiti by name! This is what missions is supposed to be—personal, authentic, humble, and honest. If we maintain these 4 attributes while tirelessly working to spread the gospel in Haiti in love, then I believe that we are following the Biblical blueprint for Christ-like and Pauline mission work.
I apologize for the length of this letter, but I felt that it was important to fully explain my reasoning behind writing it. This ministry needs prayer to protect and guide it, and funding to help people with the most basic of human needs and ensure that we can get to them. I urge you all to partake in both. Please pray daily for this ministry as it is performed in one of the greatest spiritual strongholds of Satan on earth. Also, please give and support this ministry financially. If all of you could commit monthly to this ministry, the work that could be accomplished would leave Satan unarmed and fleeing. After Haitians accept Christ and begin their Christian walk, all Satan can do is attempt to frustrate and deceive them from a physical/material perspective. Your donations can end his efficacy in this area as we can assure that people receive Bibles, eat, get clean water, send their children to school, get medicine they need for chronic diseases, and help them start small businesses to sustain their lives. We can also make sure that new communities, deep within the Haitian mountains, are travelled to and reached with the gospel of salvation that they have never heard. Please pray and ask the Lord what He wants you to give towards these efforts for His Kingdom in Haiti. As I said above, even 10 or 20 dollars a month can greatly help if all of you agree to do this. Of course, if you can give more, give more—but always give what you feel God is telling you to give. This money will advance God’s kingdom, secure rewards for you in heaven, and alleviate suffering that neither you nor I have ever known thanks to the grace of God. Let’s completely destroy Satan’s hold on Haiti and force the rest of the world, that has practically made Haiti synonymous with Satan, to take notice of the power of the gospel of Christ. This is the only power capable of saving Haiti, and we wield it through our salvation—please help us—this is all of our assignment, and please sign up for automatic monthly donations for whatever amount God puts on your heart. This automatic monthly giving greatly enhances our abilities on the field because we know exactly what is coming in every month and this gives us the financial stability we need to function without uncertainty. Thank you so much for reading this letter. This took me many days to write because I sought God’s leading in this. With that said, I feel that this letter contains the will of God for this ministry and I don’t say that flippantly. Harvest this Haitian field with us because it is ripe for the picking! God bless every one of you. Joy and I are praying for every one of you who are part of this ministry. Give in faith that God will sustain you as you sustain His Kingdom!
Founder and Missionary
Ways to give and become co-workers of the Truth:
OVER THE PHONE: Call us at (630) 499-0250 to set up a recurring donation. We will take down a credit card number, an amount and a date you’d like your donation to be pulled.
THROUGH THE MAIL: Send a monthly check to:
CHARIS, 3015 E. New York St., A2-295, Aurora, IL 60504
UTILIZE YOUR BANK: Log onto your bank account and set CHARIS up as a “Payee” under your “Bill Pay” program. Once set up, your bank will print out and mail a check to CHARIS monthly on your behalf.