As I sit at the Haiti Teen Challenge (HTC) center in Port-au-Prince, listening to Chris Tomlin's Christmas song "Noel, come and see what God has done, the story of amazing love, the light of the world given for us..." I am reflecting on how God has blessed us this past year in ministry and excited to share with you just a few highlights from 2015.
In October our 82 HTC graduates participated in "The Kingdom Assignment Project." After a daylong workshop which focused on the parable of the talents, they were challenged to put to use their God given talents, treasures and time to advance God's kingdom in their communities with the love of Jesus Christ. They were each given ninety days and some money with the clear understanding that the money was not theirs, but God's. Recently they returned to report on what they had done. Everyone had a story to tell; lives were changed, including theirs. Graduates rescued young girls from prostitution, started several primary schools in needy communities, fed hundreds of children, created five small businesses to help single moms, began several children homes and distributed hundred of Bibles. We are seeing "Fruit."
Our graduates have become the hands and feet of Christ to their neighbors. Several years ago, some of these graduates were the problem and the ones creating turmoil. Now they are problem solvers. An example is the establishment of the HTC Impact club in Borlosse, where HTC graduates are making it possible for hundreds of youth to hear the Gospel message. They are also teaching them about positive life choices and giving them opportunities to help meet their community needs. Our students have volunteered over 6,200 service hours in children ministry, community cleanup, water distribution, and other community outreaches. They hope to establish many HTC Impact Centers in Haiti. Communities will never be the same. HTC students are allowing God to use them to bring transformation to others and their neighborhoods.
To help prepare them to serve, HTC students receive community development training and complete vocational training. This year we placed another 13 in the market place. They are working in education, information technology, and customer service. They are also working in sales, as diesel and heavy engine technicians, construction employees and in full-time ministry. These transformed young men of HTC no longer wait on people to give them a handout; they are doing it themselves, while being their neighbor's keeper.
We celebrated the launch of the Women's Program! The night of our ribbon cutting, my eyes welled up with tears as I listened to three young women share their testimonies on how drugs and prostitution had wrecked their lives, and how the power and the love of Christ is setting them free. Twelve young women are confronting their strongholds and brokenness, and being transformed through discipleship, character development, and training in life skills. It is time for the transformed young men and women to work together to renew their families, to lead with integrity and to be examples of what it means to be sons and daughters of the King.
This year our students participated and served in outreach events to over 60,000 adults, and 10,000 youths in partnership with World Vision Haiti, Luis Palau Association, Hope Outreach International, Christian Reformed World Mission, and dozens of local churches, to mention a few. These connections have created new opportunities to partner together, as we share the vision that just like Bethlehem, Haiti has been despised and rejected. But out of Haiti is coming great news of the power of redemption through Jesus Christ.
Lastly, several of our graduates have recently gotten married and started families of their own! This displays to others what God's definition of family is all about. All of these wonders are possible because of your prayers and generosity. You helped fulfill our Lord's command to spread the Good News - Rescue young men and women under bondage of sex, drugs and despair to a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus-Christ.
We Still Need Your Help!
As always, all of these opportunities (and many more that I didn't mention) and the cost of ministering to the young men and women require prayers and financial support. We want to close out 2015 financially strong so I ask that you keep HTC on your list as you consider any special year-end gifts. Your generous support is what allows us to continue to seize the opportunities that God puts before us.
The entire HTC staff and the student body thank you for the generosity you've already shown. It's made a huge difference and has helped change countless lives. As we head into 2016, I pray we will remain faithful to Jesus and worthy of your continued support.
Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.
Julio & Suzette Volcy
A Message from Craig Sulentic, President of Haiti Teen Challenge
Psalm 96, one of my favorites, portrays the image of a restored earth at peace with the Creator. In this state man is at peace with God, himself, his neighbor and the environment. Indeed even the trees sing for joy when the true order is restored.
On occasion, the Lord entrusts us mortals with a glimpse into that glorious state. Several weeks ago, it was my joy to join in the celebration of HTC's 7th graduation class. The change taking place in the in the lives of these young men and in the nation is truly amazing. My role, as a visitor, with dozens of trips over the past six years affords me a unique perspective. Often on my pre earthquake visits I would say within myself "if this is not hell you can sure see it from here". A barren, brown, desolate landfill of a place with a heavy cloud of oppression hanging over the country and its inhabitants.
The change in the nation transcends the obvious changes in better roads, more orderly processes, cleaner neighborhoods, improved economic conditions and increased private investments. The transformation is much deeper at a level human hope... even the landscape seems greener as if the Lord himself is reviving the nation so that the trees sing for joy.
The Lord is raising the poor nation of Haiti to be a witness to the world for His glory.
We at Haiti Teen Challenge cherish our role in the transformation and the promise of the harvest to come. We marvel at the humble beginning of this ministry when we borrowed a 1986 Jeep to make calls on partners. The Lord has been so good to bring together the right people at the right time to serve students of hope. We heard with our ears the testimonies of young Haitians in brokenness telling others "I was blind but now I see". We sensed the power of the Holy Spirit as repentant captives were set free. Yes the Lord has transformed hopeless, homeless, lost, poor and angry young men into new creations preaching the gospel of Christ in their communities.
One such community is Borlosse. A blight in Port au Prince of crime and poverty. Twenty of our students call this home. And so Youbens, Jackson and Jonny, graduates of the program have energized the community with the gospel of Jesus and an appeal to the responsibility through the HTC Impact Club. Because of their efforts the community now has a well lit basketball court, soccer field, community center and showers. They are making the neighborhood a cleaner and safer place. Other business leaders from The Diesel Institute, Maxima, Haytrak, Universal Motors and Eko Depot have given solid testimony of how Haiti Teen Challenge students are honest, disciplined, hard working and responsible. They are lights in the market Place.
Another reason to celebrate is the launch of the Women's Center. The Lord provided the resources and assembled a staff of women under the leadership of Suzette Volcy to address the needs of young women. The Center opened in November and we are already hearing reports of incredible healing in the lives of women who have been objects of use through prostitution.
Thank You on behalf of Haiti Teen Challenge for your faithful support and prayers; we are looking forward with excitement to 2016 as He directs our steps and vision through the Leadership of Julio Volcy and His team.
May the Lord richly bless you as a fellow laborer in this Ministry of Hope,