by Ricot St. Paulin, HOPE Haiti country director
My fellow Haitians are a resilient people. Their strength to face and recover from any type of challenge is exceptional. But when it comes to institutions or organizations at a global level, there is none more resilient than the Church.
Jesus declared, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18). The early Church believers were united and shared a common vision. They had great fellowship, devoted themselves to the teachings of the apostles, and had everything in common (Acts 2:41 – 42).
In those early days, the Church existed in challenging times—believers were persecuted and marginalized in society. Today, there is no doubt that we are living in a world in distress, where there is racial and social injustice, persecution, famine, natural disasters, and wars.
Haiti needs Good News right now.
In Haiti, we are currently living in one of the darkest days in our history as a nation.
People from all walks of life in Haiti feel desperate to find a way out of the daily violence, fear of gangs, economic uncertainty, and grind of poverty. For so many, it seems that there is no way out. But this is where the Church rises to the occasion to bring a unique message of hope.
Because of the recent violence in our country, Haitians are more open to talking about life and death, about eternity. And as followers of Christ, we have Good News to share with those who are in despair.
The Church is the best solution to poverty.
In my experience working with Compassion International and now HOPE International, there is no better way to holistically serve people in poverty than through local churches.
Haiti is a perfect example of hope amid despair. The despair is what makes the global headlines, but what doesn’t get media coverage is what I’ve seen: 40,000 savings group members from 900 churches gathering regularly to invest in their dreams for a brighter tomorrow. Like the early Church, Haitian believers are living in difficult circumstances, yet they are still dedicating themselves to loving God and neighbor.
One church partner shared with us: “When [the] government is non-existent, the Church is there to bring a ray of hope to those who have none. It gives us a sense of calling, and that is encouraging.” There is at least one evangelical church in almost every remote area of Haiti making the message of the Gospel accessible.
The Church is enduring.
HOPE, like many other nonprofit organizations, may one day end its operations in Haiti. But the Church will remain. As the body of Christ, we have a solemn mandate to join Him in proclaiming the Good News to the ends of the earth—until He returns and reconciles all things. Then poverty in all its forms will be no more!
Ricot St. Paulin joined HOPE International as Haiti’s country director earlier this year, having previously served with Compassion International in Haiti for 17 years. He holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Regent University in Virginia. Ricot is married to Rachelle, and they are blessed with a three-year-old daughter.