GVCM is, at its core, a network of 70 local churches throughout rural Haiti.
We intentionally build our ministry around the local church, because we believe that the Church, not the American non-profit, is the institution God ordained to transform the world. Local bodies of believers are the hands and feet of Christ as he redeems a fallen world.
We use the local church to gauge what the greatest needs of a community are and we use the people in that church as the means to meet those needs.
Through help from our brothers and sisters in other countries, GVCM is able to support the cost of operating local churches, assist them with building new buildings, and invest in their spiritual growth. We also partner with a Christian radio station which brings the gospel and faith building content to over 100,000 listeners.
GVCM churches are teaching their congregations a counter-cultural message to help Haiti rise above destructive stalemates and on to real development. In Haiti, the culture encourages people to wait for help, and if that fails, to demand help. The church counters with a simple message. Work hard with what God has given you and use it to help the people around you. The mantra “work and serve” challenges the culture of “wait and demand.”
It’s not just talk; the church also provides avenues to work and serve. Nearly all our churches take up a monthly offering for the elderly people in their congregation. Members who don’t have money can bring food instead. The church is literally the only social safety net that these older people have. The church members will also aid each other in farming co-ops. They will work as a group of 5-10 to plant or harvest one person’s crop, then they will rotate through each member’s fields. Churches provide opportunities for children to attend school, and for those who cannot afford the low fees (as low as $15 a year), they allow them to work off the fees in the church gardens. Churches also host reading clinics for adults.
Our church superintendent, Haitian Pastor Gethro Sannon, provides us with an inside look at what his church and scores of other GVCM churches are teaching their congregations. He says, “the Haitian president cannot solve our problems, no matter who he is. I teach my people that we have to start working to help ourselves and the people around us.” Haitian culture discourages the unemployed from accepting jobs that are beneath their social status. Pastor Gethro counters “there are no bad professions, just laziness.” He says, “in each season, I teach my young people that they have to plant something. When they earn money, they should save some, and use some to buy seeds, so they can have food not only for today, but for tomorrow. I teach them that they will not get a good job, unless they first get a good education. I teach them to pay their taxes, because unless they pay them, how will the government have any money to make things better?”
Pastor Gethro quotes a creole proverb “monte sou bwa kwochi, pou ou ka monte bwa dwat.” A rough translation is, “first climb on the bent tree, and then you can reach the tall tree.” As he explains it, this proverb means that sometimes to improve your situation, you may have to use an unattractive route. He would tell a young person to apprentice as a mechanic for free, so that the person can learn the trade and eventually make money doing it. This is a much better approach than waiting around for someone to hand you a mechanic shop to run.
We invest in the church, because the church is changing the culture.
“For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:9