When people think of Haiti, most people don’t remember it for its rich history and culture. Most people don’t remember that Christopher Columbus landed there in 1492, and few think of its beautiful beaches and luscious landscape.
When most people think of Haiti, they think of poverty, hurricane disasters, regime change or corruption.
But Edner Jeanty, local pastor in Port au Prince, seminary professor, PHD and key leader for the GLS in Haiti for the last 11 years, sees more in Haiti than most people. He sees God doing amazing work, in part, because of what God is doing through the GLS to build up its leaders, raise the value of leadership and empower youth to bring change to the country. There are three game changers for Haiti that the GLS provides – leadership resources in French, a jumpstart on ideas to serve communities, and the strengthening of grander visions already placed on leaders’ hearts.
“A former missionary once told me that Haiti has a lot of good leaders but they immigrate to other countries because they need to train and care for their families and they cannot do that in Haiti. But we cannot afford to lose them.”
Edner believes that the potential for ministry, business and education is already present in the country, and if we invest more in these three things, the country will turn around for the better. “When there are leaders, and there are jobs, then a lot of the other things take place,” says Edner.
“When something is not working, like the economy, that’s when you need leadership, and that’s where the GLS comes in. In training people, and inspiring people to take leadership seriously, leaders can change the order of things to move our people forward.”
Here are three different ways the GLS is a game changer in the context of Haiti:
The GLS provides Christian leadership resources in French
“The Summit makes good leadership insights available in French in our community,” says Edner. “This is very important because there are many resources in English and Spanish, but good Christian literature is not as readily available in French.
“Just this week, a pastor asked for a video on the four disciplines of execution to use in a training for his French-speaking deacons. We were able to provide it, and that’s one of the blessings.”
The GLS jumpstarts ideas for new projects that serve the community
“We have people who come to the GLS and as a result, they start a project,” says Edner. “After the Summit, one leader started his own church, and now the church is growing, and they have services for children who are orphans in the community.”
The GLS strengthens grander visions that change nations
“When I was under 20 years old, I wanted to train up young people who were committed to go out and serve in rural areas where there are no good schools, so they could be school teachers and trainers for the community, and bring new ideas and development to those areas.
“Today, I’m involved with the Barnabas Center here in Haiti, and we’re having more of a youth focus. It is the way to influence the next generation.”
Edner’s grander vision would be a game changer for the country. “We have 40,000 young Haitians who are studying foreign language in the Dominican Republic,” Edner explains. “It would be great if 10 big churches started a university in each of Haiti’s 10 provinces so the next generation of Haitian leaders could be trained in the biblical world view, and gain critical skills necessary to be the leaders of the next generation.
“Currently 80 percent of the people with more than a second year of education live outside Haiti. So we need to educate more people in Haiti. But it’s not just education. We need more people educated under the Christian worldview who have integrity, and who are developing their character and who can gain the trust of the people and bring about the change we want to see in the country.
“That is one of my grander visions. I’d like to see young people commit their lives to Christ, live with integrity, and grow in their leadership, and in their vocation and continue to serve here in the country. It would be a game changer for Haiti.”
Thank you from Haiti
“We are very thankful for the ongoing commitment of Willow Creek for leadership development in Haiti. We know the GLS happens through donors who share sacrificially so leaders in Haiti can have access to this leadership training. This training helps people, and helps leaders by encouraging them not to quit. It helps leaders by providing resources and insights. Thank you. We hope people will continue to support the cause so we can create more sites and more people can enjoy and benefit from the great mission of the GLS.”