Pastor Pudens never dreamed of being a pastor, but was confronted by the gifts and abilities his father’s congregation saw in him: “I didn’t want to be a pastor, but when my dad passed away in 1996 at age 47, the community of the church saw that I had the gift from God to be a pastor and they asked me to go to seminary. I didn’t want to, and I was running away from it because I didn’t want to be a pastor. I see that if I didn’t become a pastor that would be a big mistake. When I wanted to run away from being a pastor, it was because the population didn’t understand the call to be a pastor. My advice for someone who feels the call from God is they need to do it, because no one can run away from God.”
His immersion into the orphan window started at an early age when his father would take in kids whose families were unable to provide education. As he led the congregation, he continued to inspire others to step through that window to care for those that needed a family. “I was taking care of 3 kids who didn’t have anyone, so I asked some of the families in the church if they could host the kids in their homes to help them. That started in 2002-2003. But the ministry could not continue because of the flood in 2004. Everyone lost everything and they needed help from people from outside Gonaives, and they didn’t have the capability to help each other.”
The floods of 2004 and 2008, then the earthquake in 2010, created even more families in need of help, Pastor felt led to build the children’s homes in 2011. Though they may not always have the means, his congregation continues to invest in the lives of the kids on a regular basis. A new tradition at the village is for each of the kids to stay in a church member family’s home from Christmas to New Years’, even telling Pastor months before vacation, “Please do not forget me this year I should have my kid having Christmas with me. God is faithful,” he shared, and then continued, “The reason why the church is motivated to help the kids is before they didn’t understand the ministry of helping kids who don’t have anyone to take care of them. Now, after teaching them what the Bible says and using passages from the Bible, my congregation realized it is a necessity to help the kids.”
As Pastor sits with the kids and teaches them how to behave in regular society, so they know how to function outside of the village walls, he also considers it important to talk with them about life.
“I ask the kids what they want to learn in the future, some say they want to be a pastor. I say why do you want to be a pastor? They say that I want to take care of others like you are taking care of me today. It is a necessity to take care of orphans. A thing that encourages me, the last time I talked to Pastor Claude he told me he has been an orphan, and that surprised me a lot, because when I see what he is doing today and what he is doing for orphans in Haiti, I feel like I have to invest more, because I don’t know how many Pastor Claude’s I am taking care of today.”
Hope comes in the form of many things within the Haitian environments of extremes for Pastor Pudens, who greatly emphasizes, almost equally, education, social integration and skill training in the same breath as lives transformed by Jesus. “My hope for them is to see them have a successful life socially, so the education they receive from the school they will use it as they grow up and become somebody to help society, and even to help the Haitian community. Without education they will not be able to support the community. My hope is also to see them go to heaven and to save their life for Jesus. I always tell them, today I am helping you and one day I will be old and be in my rocking chair sitting and seeing you taking care of other people with needs. That is my hope for them,” Pastor said.
The Lord has led GO Project to support the leadership of Pastor Pudens as he cares for economic and social orphans at his village Philadelphia, in Gonaives. At GO Project, individuals or communities can contribute to life care and education costs of the orphans on a monthly basis or through long-term support of the pastors.