Rebuilding Hope in Haiti
The date was January 12, 2010 – without any warning a catastrophic earthquake struck Haiti. By January 24th, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded. An estimated three million people were affected by the quake, the Haitian government reported that an estimated 316,000 people had died 300,000 had been injured and 1,000,000 made homeless. The government of Haiti also estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged.
After hearing of the devastation and the loss of life and homes, God put the desire to go to Haiti on the hearts of Cityteam leaders to help address the incredible damage and to lay a foundation for future church planting. Cityteam was on the ground in Haiti, literally days after the quake; delivering over 900 tents for people that had lost their homes and had no shelter. Cityteam delivered medicine for the injured and water systems that are capable of supplying safe drinking water for up to 14,000 people a day. Meeting the needs of hurting people set the stage for Cityteam to go back to Haiti and use the relationships that we have established to teach local Haitian leaders how to launch and sustain Disciple Making Movements.
In 2011 and again in 2012, African church planting trainers traveled to Haiti, far from their homes and families to share what they have learned in Africa, with the people of Haiti.
Exciting things are happening in Haiti! So far the results have exceeded our expectations. The church planting trainers from Cityteam will have been in Haiti for less than 3 months when they return in September from their most recent trip, but in that short period of time, they have trained 207 church leaders and pastors from 15 churches in 3 communities.
In the beginning many of the local leaders misunderstood the entire concept of Disciple Making Movements. They had been steeped in the idea that evangelism meant inviting someone to church and that only professionals did the work of “ministry.” So the idea of going to new communities and training natural leaders on how to launch Disciple Making Movements was something new and foreign in comparison to what they have practiced and been taught for years. At first no one seemed interested, than a few pastors started requesting more and more trainings to be held in their churches. As additional trainings were held, people starting seeing the results and their eyes were open to a new way of making disciples. What was foreign in the beginning was now being understood and accepted. The Cityteam church planters were even allowed to teach Discovery Bible Studies in the schools in Haiti!
After the earthquake, the people of Haiti were hurting but because Cityteam took action to meet their needs and because of the faithfulness of these church planting trainers, the success stories are abundant.
The trainers were not able to reach all the areas that we had hoped to, but the thing about creating “movements” is that in time, the ripple effect of local leaders passing on the training they have received will penetrate into areas that our team was not able to reach. And that’s why it’s called Disciple Making Movements – it doesn’t stop with one person or one church, once they get started, the generations continue to multiply. Jesus set the example, spreading the Good News and training others to do the same.
*Names are changed to protect the privacy and security of those we serve.
The results have been amazing! Over the last 7.5 years we have seen the Lord raise up over 16,000 new churches with more than 600,000 new believers in 49 countries spread across 10 regions of the world.
To fulfill our mission in The Caribbean we are focusing on training local leaders to both launch and sustain disciple making movements. The idea of a “movement” is to start something that can keep going without you. That is why our focus is not just to make disciples, it is to multiply disciple makers.
What we do does not revolve around professionals and programs. It is about giving ordinary people the vision to see that they are at the very center of God’s plan to win the world and then giving them the tools to start multiplying disciple makers where they live.