Those Eyes . . .

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Philosophy of Mission: Indigenous Leadership

How does The Haiti Collective work in Haiti? What is our approach to mission in a third-world country? How are we safeguarding our efforts from paternalism, entitlement, and missional co-dependency? Our first core value speaks to these questions with indigenous leadership.

1. Indigenous Leadership

The primary leadership of the Haiti Collective is not stateside. It is the field coordinator, pastors, and missionaries in Haiti. That means the plans and intentions of churches and leaders in the United States are determined by leaders on the ground, not churches in the States. We don’t begin with an agenda; rather, we let the indigenous leadership set the agenda and see how we can get behind what they are doing and join them.

The churches that lead in the mission are all pastored and led by Haitian men trained and discipled in their own context. Both in planning and in practice, we are committed to modeling our commitment to indigenous leadership by encouraging them, empowering them, and helping them, and getting out of the way as much as possible.

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Philosophy of Mission: Overview

Since 2010, God has opened wide a door for effective ministry in the country of Haiti. The opportunities in this country are simply massive, and at the same time, so are the dangers and challenges. Ministering in a cross-cultural context requires sensitivity and skill, and add to that a third-world nation ravaged by one disaster after another, we need wisdom and discipline to avoid the potential mine field of personal disappointment, group entitlement, unintended consequences, unfulfilled intentions, and failed execution.

It is important to hash out a philosophy of mission so that we have a pre-committed plan of working with the same understanding and set of principles so as to avoid confusion and frustration. A properly understood philosophy of mission will bring alignment to perceptions, ambitions, and approaches as well as clarity and unity regarding attitudes, perspectives, and personal desires. If the stated philosophy of mission is circumvented whether intentionally or unintentionally by team members, then the integrity and character of the work we are doing will be compromised.

Essential to what we do through the Haiti Collective is knowing the answers to the why? and how? and so what? questions. Why do we do what we do? How do we do it? So what if we do it differently? Does it really matter? In other words, a healthy and robust mission will consider all the ramifications of the work God is calling us to do, not simply answering the what question alone.

As God continues to open doors and more partnerships are established with local churches, we seek to maintain a unified philosophy of mission for the integrity of the work, the advance of the gospel, and to avoid sending conflicting or mixed messages in what we do among our brothers and sisters in Haiti. With that in mind, there are five main core values that briefly explain the philosophy of mission. In the coming days, I will break each one down in separate posts.

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We are big on putting smiles on the faces of orphans

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Register for Together for Adoption and Support the Haiti Collective!

Recently, we received great news from Together for Adoption. Coming up September 14-15, they are hosting their national Together for Adoption Conference. If you are not familiar with this wonderful organization, we strongly encourage you to check them out!

Here’s the good news. For everyone who registers for their upcoming national conference, $10 will go to The Haiti Collective Libere Project! All you have to do is enter “Haiti Collective” in the Project Code box in the registration form when you sign up.

There are some great speakers, breakouts, and resources available at this conference, so if you are looking for the one place to learn about all things adoption and orphan care, this is your ticket. AND, you will be helping us out as well!

Thank you Dan Cruver and T4A team for partnering with us!

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Pictures from Christ Fellowship’s Trip to St. Marc

From June 19th – 25th a group of 8 people, including me, served alongside the church in Saint-Marc, Haiti. The week was filled with orphan ministry in the mornings – teaching, singing, playing games, etc. In the afternoons members of the group either spent time teaching the leaders of the church or doing door to door evangelism in the community. We helped the church conduct evening services each night as well. On the last day of the trip, we spent time leading a men’s and a women’s bible study.

We saw God do great things this week. I’ll be posting some reflections from our time in Saint-Marc soon. But until then, here is a link to some photos from our trip. Enjoy.

Jody Sledge
a Pastor of Christ Fellowship Church

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Team of Six from Oklahoma Head to Haiti

This evening, a team of six young people from Tulsa, Oklahoma area head to Haiti with The Haiti Collective for a 14-day mission trip to provide medical and dental care for orphans. This team will travel across our network of churches as a mobile clinic to meet the basic medical and dental needs of children in various communities.  Additionally, they will spend a portion of the day hosting a “VBS” like event focusing on teaching these children about Jesus.

Please join us in praying for this mission team as they are our first to be send for this particular need (medical/dental care). As we break new ground in the development of our mission work, we anticipate God’s faithful hand to guide and direct so that we can best serve the pastors and church leaders who doing a great work for the advance of the gospel!

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Resources from When Helping Hurts

Without a doubt, the most important resource we employ outside the Bible for training team members working in Haiti is the book When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett. They have just released a new edition of this book, forwarded by David Platt.  Here’s a general description of the book:

With a new foreword by David Platt, two new chapters and a final word on how to help without hurting, this expanded edition of When Helping Hurts creates a new paradigm for partnership by asking Christians to declare and demonstrate among people who are poor that Jesus Christ is making all things new. While this book exposes past and current development efforts that churches have engaged in which unintentionally undermine the people they’re trying to help, its central point is to provide proven strategies that challenge Christians to help the poor empower themselves. Focusing on both North American and Majority World contexts, When Helping Hurts catalyzes the idea that sustainable change for people living in poverty comes not from the outside-in, but from the inside-out.

Along with the new edition of When Helping Hurts, their website has an excellent 3-part webinar specifically geared to applying the principles of the book to the country of Haiti (how helpful is that?!). Here are the sessions of the webinar:

Session 1 || Haiti: The Church and Poverty
(audio | ppt)
Session 2 || Haiti: Doing Asset-based Relief, Rehabilitation, and Development
(video | ppt)
Session 3 || Haiti: Opportunities for Outsiders: A Panel Discussion
(audio | ppt)

Also, check out their assessment tool.

These resources are foundational to shaping our philosophy of mission in Haiti. We hope you will check them out!

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The Haiti Collective Is Now on Twitter!

That’s right, you can catch all the developments of our growing network and ministry in Haiti through Twitter.  To follow us on Twitter, go to our account or simply click on the button on the right side bar that says “follow @haiticollective”.

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New Haiti Collective Logo!

We are so excited to share with you a new logo that was developed by the ever talented Jeff Nine from Studio IX Creative. Jeff has generously offered his gifts in creative design to spread the mission of impacting Haiti with the love of Christ.  We would like to thank Jeff for the work he’s done on our behalf. If you are in need of great design work, we encourage you to check them out!

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Update: God Has Provided for Our Urgent Need!

Three days ago, I made public an urgent request for one of our churches in Haiti who is being forced out of the building they have used for 10 years without a place to meet.  Our network partnering churches have invested resources into orphan care (food, clean water, and education) as well as theological education of pastors.  At this point, we are not capable of meeting the urgent needs that arise, such as the one that happened last week.

But in God’s kindness, the need has been met.  After plugging this request on Facebook and Twitter, I received several responses–some were folks committing to pray, some inquiring about the need, and others seeking to help financially.  Late Saturday, a dear friend and pastor of Valley View Baptist Church in Louisville, KY, Joel Carwile, emailed to inform me he was going to bring this before his elders and church.  By mid-morning today, I received word that Valley View will be able to generously provide the $2000 we need to acquire the land for the church in Port-de-Paix!  Praise God!

On a side (and personal) note, Pastor Joel was instrumental in my life going back to when I was in the sixth grade.  God used Joel to teach me how to pray, study God’s Word, and develop a healthy devotional life.  More than anything else, that propelled me spiritually in the most formative period of my youth.  Now, some 20 years later, he has led his church to help us with this need. How cool is that?!

The Haiti Collective is simply that.  A collection of churches seeking to invest in local churches and pastors in Haiti by encouraging, supporting, and assisting them in their indigenous work of making disciples, planting churches, and caring for orphans.  The needs we have range from cholera infected orphans to collapsed buildings to training emerging church leaders to “homeless” congregations. We long to bring the hope of the gospel in word and deed to this devastated country, and together, we believe God will transform communities there by the power of the gospel!

Thank you for your interest, prayers, and support! And thank you Valley View and Pastor Joel for meeting this urgent need and God using you to answer our prayers!

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Network Need: Church in Port-de-Paix Forced Out

One of the 13 churches in our network is in the city of Port-de-Paix, located on the northern tip of Haiti (see the red cross on the map below).  This church has strong pastoral leadership and desire to reach their city.  In 2002, they signed a 10-year lease on a building in the heart of the city and have been able to use it as the base for their orphan care as well as ministry of the church.

This month, the church was notified by the owner that he will not allow them to renew their lease on the commercial building.  Because Port-de-Paix is a port city, the cost of leasing building in the city is really high and exceptionally rare.  The only viable option for the church now is to look for affordable land and build temporary facilities until a more permanent construction project can take place.

I talked to our network leaders in Haiti, and they have a piece of land they hope to purchase for $2,000, and from there, they hope to put up temporary facilities to house public gatherings and meetings.  Because of the economy and the high percentage of unemployment, the possibility of the church coming up with the money is nearly impossible on their own.

That is why I’m bringing this before you here.

The church in Port-de-Paix has asked their people to give sacrificially to help with the acquisition of land, and they have received approximately $250 in US dollars. As you can see, they need our help.  We would like to help cover the remaining cost of purchasing the land and getting temporary facilities for the church (likely large tents) so that they could continue to meet corporately and ministry in the community.

If you would like to contribute to this need, you can click on our donate page and give through PayPal directly to the network Haiti fund.  100% of the funds will go to this particular need.  If you have any questions or would like to mail a check directly, please contact me at timmybrister[at]gmail.com.

Please help us spread the word about the needs we have in Haiti!  Thank you for considering this urgent request, and I hope to keep you updated on how God is working to meet these needs!

» To donate to this need, please click here.

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Upcoming Mission Trips in 2012!

Over the past couple months, we have been working on the remaining calendar year and the developing partnerships with Haitian churches in our network.  Two years ago, a Haitian pastor was sitting in the back row of Grace Baptist Church wondering if there was any hope to rebuild after losing everything.  In God’s kindness, we have been able to invest time, money, and resources in caring for over 1,600 orphans, 13 churches, and over 60 ministry leaders, along with four teams traveling to serve on the ground!

As the mission continues to grow and expand, we are praying for additional churches to partner in the work of gospel advance through the network of churches in Haiti who believe in the philosophy of mission that empowers indigenous leaders and facilitate a long-term vision to transform communities through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Over the past year, the mission has expanded from two churches to five churches with several others inquiring about partnership.  Below are the planned mission trips for the remainder of 2012 right now. It is likely that we will add 1-2 more during the Fall season. Pray with us as we seek to bring the hope of the gospel to the people of Haiti through local churches built on the gospel of Jesus Christ!

1.  Medical/Dental Missions | May 18 – June 2, 2012

2.  Church Partnership in Saint-Marc | June 19-25, 2012

3.  Church Partnership in Desarmes | July 23-30, 2012

4.  Church Partnership in Duval | July 30 – August 6, 2012

5.  Church Partnership in Port-au-Prince | December 12-17, 2012

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Port-au-Prince | December 12-17, 2012

Overview

Date: December 12-17, 2012
Team: Open Door Baptist Church (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Location: Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Objective(s): Orphan Care, Evangelism, VBS
Contact: K.J. Pugh (thesovereignjoy [at] yahoo.com)

Summary

A team of 5-10 members from Open Door Baptist Church are planning a trip to minister to the church and orphans in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  Since the earthquake, the church in PaP have not had a building large enough for them to meet in a corporate gathering.  The orphanage, whose buildings were also destroyed, is temporarily renting space to house 80 orphans.  The team from Open Door will invest a week into the lives of these orphans and meeting with the pastors and leadership team about future possibilities, including partnership and assistance in meeting the many practical needs they currently have.

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