bertin

Pastor BertinPastor Bertin was called to the area of La Hatte through a non-existent local church in the community. It was a love for the Lord, and to see others love the Lord, that brought him to La Hatte going house by house and talking about Jesus.

“I was not a pastor before I started the church, when I met the 4 people that wanted a church in the community I started that church and started going to seminary at the same time. I did think about becoming a pastor, it was not part of my dream. When God calls you, he will make you do what he asks you to do however he wants you to do it. You cannot refuse God. When I went there to talk to people about the Gospel, it was the first time I had ever been there. The sign for me was meeting the 4 people that were refusing to go to church because they did not have a local church to worship,” said Pastor.

He had been given the land by a man in the community that felt led to give a piece of land to a pastor for a new church. A school quickly followed the start of the church after Pastor Bertin noticed several of the children in the area had never had the possibility to go to school. It was through the school that he says God showed him that there was a need to care for kids in the community in one location as he saw kids showed up hungry, without clothes and shoes.

“The reason why I think it is important to care for kids, when they don’t go to school and don’t have anyone to care for them, is it is bad for society,” Pastor said.

In Haiti, and most in rural areas, pastors are confronted with the realities of voodoo practices within their communities. Typically, pastors and the voodoo priests find themselves on opposite sides of many issues within the community, however, pastor reflects on a conversation that surprised him, “The voodoo priest shook my hand and said, ‘Pastor, if I had money, I would pay you for what you do. Our lives are in danger, because of kids who are growing up without school and they are a danger for society. Some of them will be beaten up because of stealing people’s stuff, and some of them could go to Port-au-Prince to be gangsters.’ The reason the voodoo priest said that is not because we had a good relationship with him, but because he knew I was doing something good for the community.”

That good in the community continues to be done as Pastor leads the kids in his care to love the Lord so deeply that they are drawn into leadership of their local church, as well as outside of their own community to minister in other towns as a type of mission trip.

“Because the kids are part of the church, they participate in every activity of the church. In the same way other church members have access to go on mission trips, the kids have access to mission trips. Mission trips are important within the church to share the Gospel. When I go on a mission trip with the kids, they are doing the same thing the other church members are. We give responsibility to each person to do something on the trip, and they kids all share in that responsibility. Secondly, it is good to include the kids in the whole society so they know that what everyone else does, they can do it as well,” pastor shared.

Once you step onto the village property at La Hatte, an overwhelming sense of God’s presence is immediately electric. When I pointed out this observation to pastor while we were talking, he gently smiled and responded with, “The kids all get along at the village. They do not fight. God makes it peaceful here for us. We pray a lot. I ask God in my prayers to protect the kids in the village. I want you to pray for me so God can give me more wisdom and knowledge so I can continue to lead the people I am leading.”

His dedication to prayer extends to specific prayers for the ministry of GO Project as well, “When we pray we always pray for Global. I always pray for God to give Global more vision, and more love for the kids. Global loves kids and God will bless them for what they are doing. I always pray for Global, because they are doing something positive. The way the Global team reacts is really positive, and I am asking God to help them to remain the same.”

The Lord has led GO Project to support the leadership of Pastor Bertin as he cares for economic and social orphans at his village in La Hatte outside the city of Cayes. 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.

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elysée

Pastor Elysee & MoiseMany times in Haiti, pastors set aside their ideal of safe areas when they embrace the courage to follow God wherever he may lead them. God led Pastor Elysée to Biggarouse while many of the local community was rapidly leaving the area due to an increased level of crime, voodoo and lack of good that comes with a community of people who love Jesus.

“It is a miracle how God made me start the village. It was a really difficult community. People didn’t want to live there anymore. But when God put on my heart to start the church here, I started with a crusade in the community. During the crusade in February 2002, many people came to Jesus. When people saw that the Gospel was being preached again, they came back to the community because they believed there would be some changes. The first thing we had was the church and we started in a tent, then we started a school. After the school, we started the orphanage,” Pastor shared.

When it came to finding the land for the village after Pastor started preaching to the community, it was a dream from long ago that materialized in front of him while walking down the road outside what would become his village to house kids and where many come to school.

“I can say that I was sent by God to this community. I had a dream. When I had the dream, I saw that I began a ministry in a place like where we are now. I kept looking, but all the other places I looked they were not right. What I saw in my dream is exactly the same, there is a corner then a divide in the road right where the place was in my dream, and that corner and divide in the road is the one right outside where the village is now. That is how I knew God wanted me to start the ministry here. I always live by faith, and I knew that God was going to make my dream come to pass,” Pastor said.

One of the difficulties while leading in a community in need of help is when parents need jobs. Pastor shared with me the story of a family in the community, “After the boy’s mom talked to me and explained the situation, I was really sad about her story. I said, what I can do for you is I can give you a job here and you can have a possibility to help your son. Then the boys’ mom came back with her son to talk about the job I wanted to give her. I was sitting with her under that avocado tree there, and she said, ‘I forgot my bag in the road.’ I said, ‘How could that happen that you forgot your bag? Go get it!’ She walked out the gate to get her bag, and after that I never saw her again, and she has not come back for her son. I have called her many times and she never picks up the phone. The boy is 4 years old and in preschool now. He has been living here for 2 years, and the mamas love him and all the other kids like him and help take care of him. He is a very good boy. Because of this, we call him Moise [Moses in English], because he shares his story with Moise from the Bible.”

Pastor’s leadership is deeply rooted in prayer. As he shares with those willing to listen while sitting under a larger than life mango tree, prayers of several women are heard in the church simultaneously mixed with the voices of teachers in nearby classrooms. Just as this chorus floats into the air, pastor shares, “Everything is done by faith. I pray to God and God shows us the way. This church changes kids’ lives. They didn’t know anything about school or God, and because of our presence in the community, they learn about Jesus and are educated. As an example, some of the young girls, if we didn’t have the village to help them they would have a really bad life, maybe they would have babies without fathers or be in prostitution or other things. In the same way, if it was not for the village, the boys would have a bad life and be stealers or other things to have money to survive. But because of the village, they have a new life.”

This new life is nurtured by a local church community that is active in the lives of the kids. Though unable to financially support the village due to the poverty in the community, whenever the village needs to do something, the members of the congregation are always available to help them do it. It is that investment in the kids and village that will benefit the kids’ future. According to Pastor, “The kids that we see today in a bad situation, tomorrow they will be someone that can help society move forward. If we don’t help them they will be bad for society, and if we do help them it will be a benefit for society. They will develop the community. The kids we see today are the ones that will be adults tomorrow. They could be president, prime minister, deputies, doctors and economists. This generation is the one that will help society move forward.”

Inspired by moving the next generation into a capable and sustainable adulthood is where Pastor points to the one that draws them together, “God never changes. He is the same one yesterday, the same one today and will be the same one tomorrow.”

The Lord has led GO Project to support the leadership of Pastor Elysée as he cares for economic and social orphans at his village in Biggarouse outside the city of Cayes. 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.