[From Jan Watson. Jan went to Haiti with us in January, 2017]
“In January I traveled with Les and Helen Prouty to Gonaives, Haiti. We were joined by other co-laborers from Missouri, Texas, Ohio, Illinois, and South Carolina to serve missionaries Luke and Julie Brouwer. It was crystal clear during this trip that Hope Community Project’s focus is on empowering and promoting the dignity of the impoverished Haitians they serve.
Why is this approach important? In the book When Helping Hurts, authors Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert discuss the unhealthy and sometimes unbiblical approaches North American churches have taken as they attempted to reduce inequity. Our efforts to support the poor, although well intentioned, can be short sighted and misguided. Corbett and Fikkert acknowledge the critical need for relief in the event of a disaster and stabilization after life-threatening events. They also recommend careful discernment, because on-going assistance may unintentionally keep people in a relief mode. A long-term vision for applying the gospel to a broken world should support transformation and dignity. It honors people as equals and partners; it offers real help and grace by seeking input from those we are attempting to help. Aside from our generous resources, the authors offer that acknowledging our own brokenness may be one of our greatest assets to meaningfully reflect God’s grace and promote more equitable relationships. This provides a way of “leveling the playing field” of sorts, in that our wealth and power become less important to the materially poor than the mutual depravity and need for the Gospel we all share.
How does Hope Community Project empower and promote the dignity of the Haitian people? This ministry looks to the needs of the people and community by partnering with community members. They provide resources for much needed medical care, micro-enterprise development, and educational scholarships. Efforts focus on giving people real responsibility and equipping them for success, thereby supporting the desire for self-sufficiency. Building work force skills through micro enterprises and providing educational opportunities for children contribute to dignity and seeing oneself as capable. Sustainable change succeeds over the long term when there is an awareness of local struggles and a homegrown vision for the future. Hope Community Project does just that—it provides hope for the future for the participating families in Gonaives. In this way, we honor Christ’s instructions in both word and deed as care is provided for “the least of these.”
Thank you Jan for going, serving, and sharing.
We can only continue to help protect children, preserve families, and promote independence among the very poor in Gonaives with your help. Consider becoming a monthly partner or making a one-time donation at the big red donate button on this page.