A few decades ago Bolosse was a top destination for Haiti's wealthy families; however, due to political unrest, failing governments and fatherless families this beautiful hill on the sea became a place of despair, misery, and one the poorest places in Port-au-Prince. The youth, turned toward violence, sex and drugs in search of finding a sense of purpose and gangsters ran the place.
2013 HTC graduate Jackson was one of those gangsters in Bolosse.
"I began life as a quiet and respectful boy, but growing up my mom and dad practiced Voodoo and when our mother left us things began to go very bad for me. I skipped school to get drunk and spent time with the bad guys in the ghetto. I became the leader of a gang. It brought me pleasure to start fights with the police and other gangs, and I felt powerful when it was one of my gang members who shot or killed someone. My community forced me to leave because I had become so dangerous.
I shouldn't be alive but God led me to Haiti Teen Challenge and my life is no longer the same. I learned that God is my Father and that I need to leave behind all my sins and follow Him. Jesus commands that,
"Whoever wants to be my disciples must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."
God really loves everybody and he wants me to tell others about his love. I am now welcomed in my community where with my HTC brothers and sisters work with young people who, because of their age, condition and academic levels cannot enter the HTC residential Program. Through the HTC Impact Club we bring them Hope, Love, and Encouragement that they can only find in God."
In Haiti 80% of people living in urban areas live in poverty. Life is hard in Bolosse,
but radical and sustainable change is occurring through the work that Jackson and other HTC graduates are doing at the HTC Impact Club. Every week over 90 people come to study God's word. They are studying the book of Romans and learning about what the foundations of a family are according to the heart of God. On Saturday evenings they gather together to worship. Like Jackson, the graduates of HTC are dedicated to teaching the hundreds of kids on the street about Jesus. They are also teaching math, English and computer skills and working with community leaders to help their neighbors have a better quality of life.
Haiti Teen Challenge believes that Haiti will not change until Haitian young men and women are transformed by Christ, equipped in the things of God, skills, training, and education, and mobilized with purpose to rebuild their cities. Recently visitors from the US offered their perspective after visiting Bolosse; on previous trips to Haiti they had spent most of their time "doing things for" the people in Cite Soleil (a community like Bolosse) and they were surprised by the comparison between the two communities. In Citi Soleil, they said, there is a lack of ownership of their problems, the streets are filthy, and visitors are mocked and distained. In Bolosse the community received them with a warm welcome and smiles, the streets were clean and Haitians are leading the initiatives.
St. Louis Jhonn from Bolosse says, "It is not easy to grow in the right direction in my community. I often made the wrong decisions when it came to making friends and fighting was my favorite game. One day a friend named Benedict, who had graduated from HTC, called me and said, "John instead of fighting I am inviting you to a club." I asked him if it was a football club he said, "No the name is HTC Impact Club. They teach young women and men to know their value and how to serve their community." I eventually visited them and I liked it. At the HTC Impact Club we pray together and discuss the needs of our community. I am different than I used to be, I have stopped the bad things in my life and people have started to trust me and respect me."
Thank you for your continued support to:
"Build Godly leaders of integrity, so that Haitians are empowered to rebuild their nation for God's glory."
HTC Impact Clubs bring Haiti Teen Challenge into the community and are fully lead by HTC graduates. HTC Impact Clubs are currently located in Bolosse and Fort Medcredi.
My name is Daïna and I am 16 years old. I grew up in a violent home where my dad beat and cursed my mom, claiming that we were not his children. Three years ago when my brother died my dad blamed my mother and threatened to kill her. They could not live together because of the abuse and anger.
At a young age my dad introduced me to addictive substances and I began to smoke, drink, and use cocaine. My mother cried every night because of my choices; I would beat her in response and finally left her house. First I went to my father's, but he demanded I earn money every night, refused to care for me and I felt threaten by his friends who wanted to use me sexually. My dad didn't want me so I left to live with my grandmother, but she would not feed me so I eventually ended up living in a ghetto. I was fatherless, homeless, and lived with a gangster who stole and killed innocents. I was 14 years.
One day I ran away from him, but my bad choices were only beginning. For $50.00 I was lured to a beach with some other Haitian women and on to a boat by some American men, I thought everything was going fine until the police came and put me in jail, and the FBI arrested the men. The story made the news and my reputation became even worse, so I created a new version of me. I called myself crazy and started a clan called the Piranhas. I was the leader of the group and every Saturday we would go partying. One night I met a guy, he told me that he was going to leave Haiti, had money to give me and told me to come get the money. I decided to go meet him at his office but when I got there he showed me his police uniform and a gun. My heart skipped a beat as he started to touch me. I begged him not to rape me he but he had his way with me and sent me home in a taxi. I never told anyone what had happened.
I was struggling at school; I used marijuana and after several failed semesters I was kicked out, I went to take the government exam for my last grade and didn't pass. I spent my days fighting, smoking crack, and taking other women's boyfriends. I got pregnant by a man, even though I didn't really love him, because I felt loved and had all his attention and affection, but at 4 months I aborted the baby.
My life was bad and I knew that I needed to be changed and renewed. I thought about a place my cousin had told me about called Haiti Teen Challenge. I wasn't sure I wanted to go, but I was living in the darkness, I was blind and could not see how to get out of the life I was in.
I have now been in the HTC program for six months. I have learned how to forgive, how to obey but most importantly I have accepted Jesus Christ. Knowing God has been the best choice I have ever made. He died so I could be in the place where I am now. Through His mercy He gives me a new life, He gives me light, He rescued me and accepted me into His family.
I am learning to love people and live with people around me. I still struggle with my addictions, the drugs, alcohol, and sex, but the morning chapels and the classes are redefining my future. When I graduate I want to continue my education in order to go back to my community to make a difference. I really love children so I want to teach them about how much God loves them, and about all that I learn here at HTC.
I want to say a big thank you to you, because you gave me the opportunity to be part of Haiti Teen Challenge. With Jesus by my side, I am working hard to become the best version of the person He created me to be. Please pray for me.
"Building godly leaders of integrity,
so Haitians are empowered to rebuild their nation."
"Your mercy has saved my soul
Now Your freedom is all I know.
The old made new, Jesus when I met You,
You called my name and I ran out of that grave."
(Lyrics by Passion)
During my trip to Haiti several weeks ago I learn the story of one of our young woman in Promo 3. She came into HTC in spite of great fear. The Voodoo priest had told her that if she did not obey his commands and offer sacrifices she would die.
She struggled every hour with the bondage of evil. She witnessed her sisters growing in freedom, value and love as they embraced Christ, but she held back because she was afraid. Recognizing the intensity of her battle the women's HTC staff persevered in prayer for her.
Recently on a Sunday morning during the song "I am no longer a slave to fear" she came to the front of Rendevous Christ Church, fell on her knees and accepted Jesus as her Savior. She is now a child of God, and has publicly proclaimed her salvation through baptism. Through her story we are reminded that prayer is stronger then any challenge, darkness or even a Voodoo priest that we might face. His mercy has indeed saved our souls and His freedom we now know.
Prayer breaks any chain that holds us back from being all God wants us to be and from doing His will. So let us join together today in rejoicing with our new sister in Christ, and through prayer commit our hearts and minds to following His steps as He builds godly leaders of integrity so that Haitians bring witness to all the nations of the world of His glory and splendor.
Please pray for:
Our men and women that will be graduating in June, they are in the final months of their time with HTC. Pray that their new found faith will grow deep and that no matter what storms of life come their way they will hold fast to Christ.
Pray for courage for our leadership and students, that they will stand firm when they encounter attacks against truth.
Pray that doors will open for schooling, internships and jobs so these young men and women can financially support themselves and their families.
Pray that God would bring increased discernment and wisdom to all who serve in developing nations of how our helping might be hurting even though we have the best intentions. Pray that eyes would be open to really see and ears open to really hear how God is guiding and directing us to serve.
Pray for Haiti Clean Challenge, the trash initiative to cleanse the polluted environment and restore health and beauty to the island of Haiti. Pray for all encounters and discussions to be lead by the Holy Spirit, for transparency and accountability in all actions, for resources, including the right amount of land, and that Jesus Christ and the gospel would be proclaimed as a result.
Pray for our HTC President, Craig, our Treasurer, Mary, and HTC board member, Lonny as they travel to Haiti on March 14th to train, guide and help build strength in the growing HTC organization and Foundation Board.
Thank you for the great gift of your prayers,
I grew up in Bolosse. My parents never got along, they were always arguing and my father had to made all kinds of bad deals to take care of us. When I was 11 he was put into prison for 3 years, this was a punishment on my whole family. I could no longer go to school; people in the neighborhood pointed at us, made fun of us and humiliated us. When he was released my dad promised that he would never return to his old life, but months passed without him finding a job and he started doing bad deals again.
In February of 2014, my father was shot and killed. It caused me great pain. I saw my father as a failure, he destroyed our lives and left us no inheritance, it was difficult to even eat. I began to use drugs and alcohol and sought happiness in all kinds of sexual pleasures. I was trying to fill the void inside of me, and creating even more pain for my mother. I quit visiting her so I would not see her cry any more.
I was now the failure, I thought I was nothing, but I called on God to help me.
A friend told me about Haiti Teen Challenge and I signed up for the program. It was really difficult at first, but I learned how much God valued me and I asked him to be my Lord and my Savior. From that moment I felt liberated, God took me out of the prison I was living in. I was no longer afraid and I lost my desire for alcohol and drugs.
I couldn't have imagined that my life could be different from my father's. I just graduated with the Promotion 11 class. I am getting closer to God, I trust him, and I pray regularly now. A verse that comforts me is: Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loves me and gave himself for me."
When I go home to my community I want to be a light. Bolosse is a really, really dark place, I want to bring light. People love rap music and I want to use rap to bring glory to God. People may laugh at me, but I cannot wait to share Jesus. Jesus changes lives.
Thank you. God bless you!
Sunday morning, the chairs are filled as alumni and students of HTC, their families and people from all over Port Au Prince show up to study God's word and worship at Rendezvous Christ Church a community outreach component of Haiti Teen Challenge. Jhonny, an HTC graduate leads a Sunday school class on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and Kenlove, a student in the HTC Women's Program, is helping to teach children about Jesus through stories and songs. Here is her story.
My name is Kenlove, and I didn't grow up with a mom or dad. I lived with my sister and her husband who couldn't keep me from hanging out with gangs, thieves and murderers. Sadly, they were the ones who taught me how to live. They influenced me to follow their lifestyle of many sexual partners, drugs, alcohol, smoke, and prostitution. I didn't have any respect from my neighborhood and I was ashamed when people talked about me. I stopped going to school because I preferred partying, pleasure was the center of my life.
But when my sister witnessed the changed lives in the young men in our community who had gone through Haiti Teen Challenge she worked to see if I could come into the Women's Program. I was placed with people who loved me and my life changed through the words of God. I asked God to forgive me for everything I did in my past and now I have salvation. I lift up my hands and thank God, He is now the principal actor in the movie of my life.
Nothing can make me go back to the life I used to lead. This June I will be graduating. Please pray for me as I return to my neighborhood to share with them what I have learned about God and a better way to live.
June 3rd will be the 10th Men's Class and the 1st Women's Class to graduate. As the number of graduates grows their impact is increasing, the "ripple effect" has begun. Just like the early church, Christian community is growing within neighborhoods long forgotten by those in government and even the local church. In the next three years Haiti Teen Challenge has great plans. Our Strategic Plan focuses on 5 Key areas.
1. Program: Ensure program is relational and intimate in nature, and transformative as a result. Measure success in terms of student outcomes.
2. Development: Increase awareness of and grow financial support across the U.S. and in Haiti. Through fundraising that is cost effective, goal-oriented and growth-oriented build a sustainable ministry and fund the growth vision.
3. Leadership Capacity: Grow HTC and build an army of godly leaders in staff and students strictly adhering to the mission and values yet recognizing the great need of the nation.
4. Economic Engines: Evaluate and launch business opportunities, which utilize HTC students and build an income stream for the HTC ministry.
5. Finance: Function with the utmost integrity, accountably and transparency, and support the strategic plan of HTC.
6. Governance: Provide documented processes with a biblical view that fosters high performance and support for the HTC Board, HTC Foundation Board, and the HTC management in achieving the mission and vision of the organization. To ultimately transfer all design, planning and decision making to HTC Foundation and Haitian.
Thank you for supporting Haiti Teen Challenge in our mission to,
"Build godly leaders of integrity, so that Haitians are empowered to rebuild their nation."
A category 4 hurricane makes landfall in Haiti. According to reports 1.25 million people endured hurricane force winds that reached 145 mph, impacting people with no place to seek shelter. An estimated 1000+ people are killed and monetary damage is estimated at $1.89 billion. In the southern part of Haiti the winds, the heavy rainfall and the deadly tides destroy 90% of homes, schools, churches, and the economy with nearly all crops decimated.
As the students of Haiti Teen Challenge listened to the reports many were worried about their families. The next question was, "what can we do to help."
As soon as a bridge to the devastated land was secured HTC Teams, lead by HTC Graduate, Youbens Gay, were on their way to bring food, water and the hope of Jesus Christ to those whose lives had been shattered. These young men and women who formerly brought harm to their neighbors now came to serve, recognizing that it was their responsibility to help.
As the late radio commentator Paul Harvey said, "And now for the rest of the story..."
Thanks to you since October HTC teams have been ministering in the south of Haiti. Over 656,000 meals have been provided for those in need and over 51,200 families have been helped. Working with other Haitian partners HTC teams have clean up the debris and helped 49 families repair their homes.
After witnessing the work of the HTC Teams other Haitians joined in and provided $164,000 of food, and building materials worth $43,000. Your support has empowered Haitians to help Haitians and modeled what it means to reach out in times of crisis. Your generosity is now allowing HTC to partner with GoServGlobal a ministry in Iowa that manufactures the components needed to build homes that will stand strong in hurricanes and earthquakes. HTC hopes to provide homes for 8 families who lost everything with discernment from the local church.
Round in design, a Safe T Home can withstand strong winds, in fact these homes in southern Haiti provided refuge for many during Hurricane Matthew. They are also virtually earthquake proof. A double roof provides a heat deflection system keeping the internal temperature 10˚ cooler than the outside and also provides a water collection system. The roof contains a solar panel for one light and can support 5,000 pounds for an added sleeping loft or storage. The Safe T home has a 75-year life expectancy, is made of 90% recyclable materials, and is 100% termite, fire and waterproof. Windows have screens and be can locked for security. The rounded attachments on the outside act as ballast for the home and provide protected places for gardens and the home can be painted to reflect the personality of the family. At a cost of $6,700 per home for the components and transportation to the Haiti these home can be put together in 2 days with simple hand tools. Starting this month The HTC teams will be train by GoServGlobal and begin building 2 homes. This has been made possible by you.
We are very thankful for your support and your investment in the young men and women of HTC, but we continue to need your help. Please prayerfully consider a gift to empower this generation of Haitians to become godly leaders of compassion, honesty, respect, integrity, committed to serving others and leaders that can be trusted. They will be the ones that bring the good news and help their fellow Haitians to finally write a new story for Haiti.
Haiti Teen Challenge
This past month Haiti Teen Challenge welcomed our second class of 12 young women. These young women came from the streets. Abused and filled with despair no longer, they are being immersed in God's forgiveness, grace and mercy, growing to understand their purpose and value, and gaining life skills and an education that will transform their lives.
Dropping off his daughter one father proclaimed that God had answered his prayer. He knew that his daughter was prostituting herself and no matter how hard he beat her, again and again she returned to the streets. He said that her life had been save for he was convinced that without Haiti Teen Challenge he would eventually have killed her.
The ninth class of young men graduated from Haiti Teen Challenge. On graduation day M. Hillaire Jackson, Commander of the Haitian Police challenged the graduates to use their gifts to be all that God created them to be, to show others the love of Christ, and to serve their communities.
M. Hillaire Jackson said, "The vision of HTC is to produce leaders of integrity and that means that you must be lights, a blessing for Haiti. God is looking for champions and you must stay righteous in the most difficult situations, to have the same life in private as you have in public. Your goal must be to honor God's word, to be trustworthy, and to leave a legacy by transferring your knowledge to others."
To become fully equipped leaders the next step for these HTC graduates is to complete their education. They have received a mentor for guidance and accountability, and scholarships to achieve certification in a trade or to obtain a degree that helps to meet the needs in their nation.
Haitian helping Haitians. Since the direct hit of Hurricane Matthew on southern and western edge of the nation Haiti Teen Challenge has been packing and distributing food and water, cleaning up debris, and repairing homes. Over 650,000 meals have been provided for those in need and over 50,000 families have been helped.
When a team of Haiti Teen Challenge students and members from the Haiti Teen Challenge Rendez Vous Christ Church traveled to the devastated area of Port Salut they were the hands and feet of Christ. As they walked though the neighborhoods passing out food and water, they witnessed about Christ to those who were affected by the Hurricane, and as they reconstructed a roof on a house, which belonged to a family of seven, they wrote on every piece of wood a scripture verse that would bless the home.
For the next year Haiti Teen Challenge will continue to send teams to serve the hurricane victims, and with partnerships will focus on rebuilding the community of Coteaux. In this community 85-90% of all the buildings were damaged or destroyed, and all agriculture, including the livestock, were wiped out. Part of HTC's plan is to put a roof on two churches and a school and help 40 families repair or build their homes.
Your support is what is making this possible. We are deeply humbled by your sacrifice so that young men and women can be transformed by the power of Christ, equipped to lead and mobilized to serve. Thank you
A message from Julio Volcy, Executive Director of Haiti Teen Challenge
Your prayers have humbled us at Haiti Teen Challenge. As Hurricane Matthew's pummeled Haiti we knew you were praying.
In its aftermath, I have felt overwhelmed as we witness the hardest hit areas where anything not built from concrete is gone... farm lands are ravaged and destroyed...and food stores have been completely washed away. It is heart breaking; thousands of families, particularly in Les Cayes, Grand Anse, and Jeremie have lost their lives, homes, crops and their hope due to the direct hit by hurricane Matthew. This area is where many of our staff's immediate family members live and also where Suzette's family is from. Much of the suffering has only just begun. Because of the amount of rain mudslides are still a possibility across the nation and flooding has created great potential for the outbreak of disease.
At Haiti Teen Challenge we have assessed the most urgent needs with our local partners; in these direct hit areas families are in dire need of shelter, with over 90% of homes destroyed, food sources are absolutely gone, and clean drinking water is a CRITICAL NEED NOW. Without help more people will die....
HTC has mobilized the HTC RELIEF TEAM. Our young men and women are gathering food and water, and on Sunday a team will leave for Les Cayes and Port Salute to help with clean up, food and water distribution and the building of shelters.
This is about Haitians helping Haitians... with our students, our staff and our partners we are ready to serve our people. We are purchasing ALL food and supplies from local Haitian businesses. 20,000 pounds of food has already been delivered to our HTC Center and our students have begun preparing 100,000 meals that they will be distributing.
But, we need your help. In the coming days food is going to be one of the greatest needs in Haiti and HTC is prepared to get these meals to the people and families that need them, along with the message of hope found in Christ.
Every $1.00 donated by you will provide 4 meals for hungry children and families.
You can donate by clicking on the Support HTC Relief Effort Button below. Thank you for helping us bring healing to our families and communities. Your support is empowering Haitians to serve one another.
School is starting in Haiti and I am pursuing my dream to become a chef and attending Culinary School! This past summer I have enjoyed serving and sharpening my skills as I prepared the food for the children's Sports camp in Bolosse and for the VBS programs in several communities. This is only because of what God has done in my life, without him I would be in prison or dead.
My name is Innocent Jean Rodrigue Junior. I grew up with my day and stepmother in a community where most of the people were living a bad life. My parents worked hard so that they could give me a good education and a better life, but I made many bad decisions and never listened to them. I smoked, drank alcohol, did drugs, raped girls and stole things.
Everyone in my community knew that I was doing bad stuff and they called me crazy. Because of my choices to take all kind of drugs, I would overdose and passed out. I lost my self respect and the respect of others around me. My friends avoided me and my family turned their backs on me.
One day a good friend, a graduate of Haiti Teen Challenge, came to me and told me about the HTC program. He believed that I could change, but I thought he was joking, because my life was too far gone. He persisted and talked to my parents, my family, and my girlfriend. He asked them to encourage me to go HTC. With their encouragement I finally decided to go with him to fill the application at HTC.
I was accepted into the program. When I got there it wasn't easy to handle. I was always mad because I didn't want anyone to approach me, I was hard. The staff talked to me about my attitude; they told me they would like to help me discover a new way to live by following the word of God. With their help I choose to follow Christ as my Lord and Savior. Galatians 6:17 says,
"From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus."
Thank you for giving me the change to discover a new life, a new hope and now the opportunity to attend culinary school.
HTC's Graduation Festivities
It was again a great joy to travel to Haiti for the 8th promotion. I wish that you all could have been there to see the fields ripe to harvest and experience the power of the Holy Spirit. The presence of the Holy Spirit is palpable and when you are in His presence you have no desire to leave. My words are so inadequate to express what I saw and experienced.
In spite of a blinding sun and daily temperatures exceeding 90 degrees, often without air conditioning; the events surrounding this graduation, daily devotions, chapel messages, foot washing service, communion and fellowship was life changing. To see and hear testimonies of both Phase I and Phase II graduates was inspirational. At graduation the HTC men and women students performed a dramatic dance demonstrating our broken relationship with God and how death and destruction is conquered by the love and redemption of Christ. The Haitian audience exploded into cheers and tears. Truly, the message of deliverance in this drama transcends language and culture.
We were also privileged to witness our group of HTC ladies choreograph and sing a rousing rendition of Bill Withers famous tune "Lean on Me". The Women's Program in less than one year under the leadership of Suzette Volcy is truly astounding and the power of the Holy Spirit is evident in the countenance of these wonderful young women.
Bolosse and Rendezvous Church
Many of our students and graduates come from the poverty ridden and violent community of Bolosse. The Lord has directed us as a ministry to adopt this community for Christ. It is very clear that our students are making an IMPACT in this community by their EXAMPLE. They have erected solar lights, basketball standards, painted and striped the courts, cleaned the soccer fields, set up a community center for preaching the gospel and regularly involve the community in neighborhood cleanup. Upon our arrival at the HTC Impact Club in Bolosse it was evident that the Holy Spirit is transforming hearts and lives of those who live there; smiling faces of adults and hordes of little children following us and holding our hands. This reception is markedly different than our first visit. Our young men will soon be erecting playground equipment in a cramped courtyard for the children to enjoy - can't you hear the children's laughter and voices echoing through the streets?
Shortly after our visit Julio and Suzette led a team of HTC students to conduct a sports camp in Bolosse. It was attended by over 400 kids, with at least forty raising their hands to receive a new life in Jesus Christ!
Finally, HTC graduate and seminarian Samuel Sydney has accepted the assignment to be a Pastor on the streets of Bolosse - preaching the gospel, discipling baby Christians and serving the community with prayerful service.
Pastor Julio Volcy, HTC Executive Director, sensing that the fields are ripe to harvest took the initiative to construct a 4,000 square foot chapel expansion at the Phase I Men's Center in Delmas. More than 700 attended the first service on June 19 at Rendezvous Church with twenty five committing their lives to Christ 18 baptized.
Thank you all for sowing into the ministry of Haiti Teen Challenge. It is an honor and privilege to serve the Lord in this way and SEE the fruit that He is producing through the obedience of Julio, Suzette and the staff.
HTC Board President