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Hope for Haiti

July 20, 2022

In the past year, Haiti has experienced earthquakes, a tropical storm, and a presidential assassination. There have been thousands of kidnappings, and gangs have slowly been taking over communities. Unemployment is high, and access to basic necessities like clean drinking water is low.

“Every couple of months, I think, Wow, it’s really difficult. It can’t get any rougher. It can’t get any worse. And it does,” said Johnny Gryglewicz, a Resonate Global Mission missionary who works in leadership development in Haiti.

But one of the things Resonate ministry leaders and partners have noticed in Haiti is that God is at work—not only in spite of these devastating circumstances, but also through them

Resonate and its ministry partners are working in two vital ways to build momentum for change: giving young people hope and a purpose, and strengthening local churches.

Young People Are Finding Purpose and Making an Impact

In Haiti, more than half of the population is under 25 years old. Because of the country’s circumstances, many of them do not see a bright future for themselves, their families, or their communities.

“Young people feel like there’s no hope,” said Gryglewicz. “You talk to young people, and they’re like, What future do I have? There are no jobs. After high school or college, there’s nothing for them to step into. Many of them are turning to gangs because at least they’ll get paid. At least they’ll eat. They’ll have some sort of purpose.”

“They’re lost,” added Gryglewicz. “They desperately need something.”

That’s why IMPACT clubs have become a vital ministry in Haiti. IMPACT is a place where students can learn, grow, and have fun. Laughter fills the air wherever IMPACT clubs meet, whether that’s in a church building or in the shade of a big tree. Young people play games and learn about leadership from a biblical perspective.

“IMPACT is about empowering youth and letting them know they can help right now. . . . You can make a difference in your community right now, with the resources that are available to you,” said Jean Fevrier Cherubin, who directs IMPACT clubs in Haiti.

The club in Bainet, for example, recently solved a huge problem—access to water. Bainet is nestled in the mountains of Haiti. When it rains, water drains down the mountain and gathers below into streams or lakes, but people in Bainet had to climb down the mountain in order to get their water from one of those sources. It is hard and time-consuming work.

So, the IMPACT club decided to build a cistern to catch rainwater.

Using the mountain as one of the cistern walls, the club’s young people used resources already available to them to build additional walls so that they had a watertight cistern. Now, whenever it rains, it’s easier for the community to get water.

“The community is really happy with the result,” said Fevrier. “This project was really what they needed in the community. . . . Pastors and other community leaders asked to form more clubs because they want to see more of that work.”

Churches Are Providing Hope and Shelter

When an earthquake hit Haiti last fall, a lot of buildings fell—but a few of the church buildings stood strong.

Church buildings are at the center of rural communities in Haiti, serving as one of the ways church communities provide for their neighbors. These buildings provide space for schools, weddings, funerals, and other community gatherings.

Constructed to be earthquake- and hurricane-resistant, they’ve been instrumental in relief work after recent natural disasters, providing shelter and serving as distribution centers for food and other necessities.

Resonate is currently partnering with a CRC church in Moquitte, a community of about 2,000 people, to build another one of these strong buildings.

The church leads Bible studies, worship, and community development projects—but right now, their building has wooden floors and a sheet-metal roof. The church cannot gather when it rains, and the building likely won’t stand against another earthquake or hurricane.

Support from Resonate helps make it possible for the community to lay the foundation, raise the supports, and build the roof. The community will finish the project by building the walls and installing doors and windows. Resonate works with the Christian Reformed Church in Haiti, a ministry called Son-Beam International, and with CRC churches in Canada and the United States to help provide churches like the one in Moquitte with new buildings.

Pastor Amos Jean Francois and his church said that the new church building will help them minister with their community in a new way.

“This building can be used to house people with no solid shelter in the event of a natural disaster that strikes the community, and all kinds of community activities and ceremonies can be held here,” he said.

Haiti is facing many challenges, but Resonate ministry leaders and partners are working hard to spread the hope of the gospel.

“We know that God is still here, and God is still working,” said Gryglewicz.