Roadmap to Change: Solutions in Haiti

There’s a lot of chaos in Haiti right now, which can be very disheartening to both Americans and Haitians who have invested years into helping Haiti become a better place. With that background, we’re reflecting on what the solution is for Haiti—not to the current iteration of the chaos, but to the broader issues the country faces.
We don’t claim to have all the answers, here’s what we think will make a difference:

First, begin with the end in mind.

In a flourishing society, people live in right relationship with God, other people, themselves, and the rest of creation. This is supported by a just state that protects basic rights, a dynamic market that generates prosperity, and a compassionate civil society (churches, families, and nonprofits) that gives people purpose and supports the vulnerable. While no society will be perfected on this side of heaven, the degree to which a society reflects this ideal will have massive real-world implications in the lives of its citizens. Starting with this ideal is essential to gauge and direct progress.

Take no shortcuts.

When a society sees a pressing need, it’s tempting to take shortcuts to meet it. Often, this means turning to the government to provide economic prosperity or compassion rather than calling on business and the church. In Haiti, that could look like relying on the government for fuel subsidies, which, when the government could no longer afford them, sparked the initial civil unrest in 2018. It can also look like ministries that do for people what they could do for themselves or their families could be doing for them.

Fill institutions with virtuous people.

Healthy institutions limit power with the knowledge that power tends to corrupt the powerful. But even good institutions can’t survive an unending stream of unscrupulous people inside of them. We need people willing to do the harder right rather than the easier wrong—cops who refuse to take bribes, employers who compensate their workers fairly, and school teachers who show up even when they could get away with being absent.

Use the church to teach virtue.

The local church is ultimately led by Christ, who establishes it as His mission “to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col 1:20). Jesus is on a mission to reconcile all of these institutions to Himself and transform people by renewing their minds (Rom 12:2) and creating clean hearts within them (Ps. 51:10). The local church has been His strategy for doing so successfully for two millennia.
Critically, the role of the church is not only to “make converts” but to “make disciples.” Disciples integrate virtue into every aspect of their lives – how they shepherd their families, how they run their businesses, how they treat their neighbors, how they obey the law, and so forth. Disciples redeem families, businesses, and schools.
We can think of no better place for our ministry to support Christ’s strategy than in support of the local church – challenging and equipping them to make disciples who reconcile the fundamental institutions in Haiti to Christ.
And if you want to practice virtue yourself—remember that patience is a virtue! When you have a heart for a place like Haiti, it’s easy to let bad news disillusion you. But we firmly believe that the best is yet to come for Haiti. God remains on His throne, and His truth is marching on.