WHAT IS A WIDOW?
Since Charis shares the heart of God, through the Holy Spirit working in and through us, we have a great love and concern for the widows and orphans whom God has graciously placed in our life. The Bible defines a widow as, “A married woman whose husband has died and who remains unmarried.” We have included within that definition any woman who is alone raising children, as a great majority of fathers in Haiti have no intention of ever returning or supporting their families.
WHAT IS AN ORPHAN?
Our definition of an orphan is a child who has been deprived of parents. Where we live, in Haiti, we know of only 2 families in which the man has decided to support his family and be a father. The countless remainder of families have no man in the picture, leaving the mother to struggle to provide for her children on her own.
We have, on multiple occasions, experienced children dying in our arms due to starvation, infection, and neglect—all because the mother cannot properly provide for her children alone. The fatherless children are preyed upon by vodou priests who desire to lure them into their service, involve them in vodou, or rarely, sacrifice them. The boys begin to partake in criminal activity in order to eat and clothe themselves, while many of the women willingly involve themselves in prostitution to make money, as they view themselves void of any worth other than being physical objects for men.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
It all starts with education
We work tirelessly to place children in Christian schools to offer them an opportunity in this life while also sharing the gospel with them, which has eternal value and gives them hope outside of their desperate situations in Haiti.
To date, God, in His grace, has allowed 1200 children to be enrolled in Christian schools through the ministry of Charis and this has been over the course of only 3 years! We also perform widow ministry by visiting widows frequently, providing them with Bibles, studying the Bible with them, and providing food for their families.
We are currently in the initial planning stages of securing land for the construction of a woman’s center where women could drop off their children giving them the opportunity go to market or spend time with friends, free of worry, and daily Bible studies would be offered. Skill training is also being considered as a possibility within this center. Therefore, by taking orphans off of the street and enrolling them in Christian schools, their temptation to commit crime is curbed and they are being taught the ways of Christ, preventing their potential involvement in vodou. Also, sharing the gospel and studying Scripture with women reveals their worth in God’s eyes and gives them a new sense of purpose that is wrapped in Christ.
CURRENTLY SUPPORTING 8 HAITIAN COMMUNITIES
Currently Charis is involved in the support of 8 Haitian communities in the state of Sud Est. These communities are: Marigot, Macary, Peredo, Seguin, Barry, Barak, Jacmel, and Dupont. All of these communities were assigned to us by God as we did not seek to support any of them. Our faith-based model of missions places us in complete dependence on God. Thus, if we are approached by a community for assistance we inquire of God before we commit to anything or anyone. If we experience peace in prayer, then we move forward with supporting the community or individual. Conversely, if we don’t experience peace as we pray about the respective request, then we do not move forward despite its seduction.
Therefore, our plan for 2015 is yet to be revealed due to its dependence on God’s will. Thus, we may become involved with one new community, or twenty, but we know that God’s timing is perfect, His sovereignty absolute, and His purpose hidden unless He chooses to reveal it in this lifetime. We have faith that He will equip us perfectly for whatever the assignment demands, therefore we wait on the Lord!
THE GOSPEL TRULY TRANSFORMS
We are already seeing the gospel at work, and we are honored that God chooses to allow us to see the fruit of our labor. Women, who previously would spend their days with minimal clothing on are suddenly choosing to cover themselves respectively and appropriately. This has happened without us instructing them in any way. We are seeing father’s return home to support their families and raise their children. We are witnessing a morality that didn’t exist when we first arrived. Throwing stones at disabled people has turned into a pleasant greeting, and the senseless beating and torture of animals and birds has nearly ceased. Young children that were full of anger and uncontrollable tempers are now making friends as their entire demeanor and countenance has changed. This is an honor to witness, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone—we are talking about Christianity!!
"Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress."
LOCAL LEADERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABLE MINISTRY
One thing that my wife, Joy, and I are very conscious of is how many mission efforts end up dying with the missionaries. We refuse to allow this to be the case with Charis, and the way to ensure the continuation of this ministry, following our departure from the world, is to identify, develop, and install indigenous leadership. This is the only way to prepare communities for future Spiritual sustainability that will, and should, exist long after we are gone—this is not only important, but it is a Biblically modeled responsibility of the missionary.
There is no textbook way to identify leaders, especially in cultures that you haven’t been raised in. With that said though, the Holy Spirit has identified potential Haitian leaders to Charis, and once that occurs we begin to study with them individually, teaching them more intensely and with a greater depth of Biblical material.
PRAY FOR FUTURE LEADERS IN HAITI
The zeal, dedication, and love of Scripture shown by the hopeful future leader, not only reinforces our faith, but also affirms that this individual is, in fact, a future leader, chosen and identified by God. Charis is currently focusing on 4 young men that we are raising up to be future leaders. These young men were identified to us by the Holy Spirit during our interactions with them. We continue to pray that God will reveal His leaders in Haiti to us so that we can do the work that results in the successful identification of God’s will to these young men for their lives. We strongly believe that Haitians should save Haiti for Christ. We are just catalysts of the process—simple instruments used by God!