Movement = People working together to advance a shared vision
Movement Day is happening in Global Cities around the world and on May 12th it occurred in Haiti. www.movementdayhaiti.com Movement Day is a catalytic event designed to transform the world's cities through the Gospel and collaborative leadership. It is an initiative that recognizes that no one ministry can do it alone. It's aim is to build partnerships to explore new practices that seek sustainable solutions for the great spiritual and social challenges of our time.
Last Thursday, 300 Christian leaders gathered together in Port Au Prince to address the urgency in Haiti for the Gospel and the urban issues that are defeating the nation.Robert Levy, President and CEO of Jamaica Broilers (a leading agricultural business
committed to building sustainable communities with operations in three countries) spoke on faith, and how we must embrace the hope we have in the redemptive power of Christ's love. He believes Haiti is on the verge of a godly movement. Haiti Teen Challenge's Executive Director Julio Volcy spoke on "Unity," and HTC's leadership team led workshops on fatherlessness and youth.
Haiti Movement Day was a time of learning and exchanging vision and plans. Connections were built and collaboration was mobilized in the marketplace - in ministry, in Christian universities, seminaries and in the local church. With our unity of faith and commitment to action, we agreed to work together to address fatherlessness, access to clean water, justice and hunger.
Movement Day was a huge success, a collaborative effort that HTC has been praying about since the start up of the ministry. What an honor it was for Haiti Teen Challenge to partner with other organizations like World Vision, the Council of the Evangelical churches of Haiti, the New York City Leadership Center, Restavek Freedom and others.
An extraordinary gateway for a strong future and prosperous Haiti has begun. As Haitians, we commit to persevering and following God's lead. We are convicted that the Gospel matters, that unity matters, that our cities matter, that our youth matter, that movement matters. With your help, HTC will continue "to build godly leaders of integrity" to lead the transformation of the nation of Haiti.
We agree with a statement by Richard Sadler, Haiti Broilers,
"Haiti, like Bethlehem, has been despised and rejected, but out of Haiti is coming great news."
My name is Jenne-Love and I am 20 years old. I was born in a Christian family, but my Dad left, leaving my mother with 4 children. Because he had been the bread winner my mother had to find ways to care for us and feed us on her own. I came to learn that my Dad had many other women and because this life style of multiple women was so important to him he left the church. He died when I was about 8 years old.
With no father to protect me, I was abused by many men from an early age. This led me to live a sexually active life. I partied every weekend. I smoked, drank alcohol, and did whatever I wanted. I became a prostitute because I thought I could help my mother care for the needs of my siblings.
I hated many things in life including myself and my family, but God pulled me out of the abyss and put me where I am today. My transformation started when my big brother Stanley started in the Haiti Teen Challenge Men's program. The new life I saw in him and his encouragement convinced me to change my life. In November of 2015 I enrolled in the Haiti Teen Challenge Women's program.
This is the best choice I have ever made. God is doing extraordinary things in my life. I have confessed my sins and accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord. He is now my guide. I have learned that God forgives me and will always be faithful to me.
Through my daily morning and evening mediation, I am getting to know my identity in Christ. I have learned to be honest. I now recognize that I cannot do anything good without God's help. The love of God is in me and His love changed me. God gave me hope, and I now have love in my heart for my family. I am a new creature and now I live for God.
By Joe Fry, ACT Worldwide Consultant
Picture the plight of a teenage mother living in one of the poorest sections of Port au Prince. In 2010 she gave birth at home to a baby girl. As it sadly happens too often in Haiti, the father abandoned them both when the child was born. The mother was so poor that she could not afford a birth certificate for her baby. A birth certificate is required, however, in order to enroll children in a public school. Each morning mom watched sadly as neighbor children ran off playfully to school. The paperwork and expense involved in retroactively acquiring a birth certificate seemed beyond the reach of this powerless young mother. She had no hope that her precious daughter would ever go to school.
Through the Kingdom Assignment initiative recently completed by Haiti Teen Challenge graduates, God showed this mother and daughter, along with hundreds of others who are living without hope, that He has not forgotten them.
Eighty two graduates from the HTC Men's program accepted the Kingdom Assignment challenge. The challenge began when they each received the equivalent of $80 USD to be used for advancing the kingdom of God in whatever way they chose. A condition for receiving the funds was that each recipient was required to give a report in three months' time on how the funds were used.
The much anticipated day of Kingdom Assignment reporting finally arrived on December 20th. At a festive, music-filled event organized by the staff, the hearts of two hundred friends of the ministry (including this writer) were touched by their compelling ministry stories.
It was an evening of celebration to remember!
Perhaps you or I might imagine that, in Haiti, these guys would have gone out and simply spent the money. We would have been wrong. Over half of them raised additional funds.
Youbens Gay raised the USD equivalent of over $500 to launch a school for marginalized, pre-literate children and a literacy center for parents.
Daniel Daguste raised $200 USD to purchase a used motorcycle. Using his mechanical skills, he repaired it and now rents it out to gang members in his neighborhood to use as a taxi. They keep part of the earnings. In the process, Daniel is making friends and sharing the gospel with these guys. Other HTC students raised hundreds more for other creative projects. As these young servants regaled us with report after report it became evident that what God accomplished through them surpassed what the staff had imagined.
What God did in the hearts of these young men was equally transformational.
When students first enter the HTC program they see themselves as the objects ministry. How encouraging it is to now see the look of transformation in their eyes as they become the subjects of ministry, reaching out to others.
Daniel Daguste joyfully explained to the assembly that, two years ago he had no purpose in life. Since that time, with gratitude for all that God has poured into him at HTC, he is now helping others find the purpose and direction that God desires for them, also. It's something Daniel had never imagined doing.
Perkens Delius, one of the Kingdom Assignment emissaries, had heard about the need of the young mother who dreamed of sending little Medjina to school. God moved his heart to help. When the bureaucratic process was finally completed and fees were paid, Perkins arrived at her humble home and presented mom with a birth certificate.
The young mother was overcome with joy. She broke down into tears.
Why, she must have wondered, would a tall, handsome young man be so profoundly kind to her and her child without demanding a favor in return? Perkins explained that God had been even more kind to him when he had also been without hope. "Be encouraged. God has not forgotten you,"were his comforting words. "He picked me up. He can pick you up, too!"
Little becomes much when God is in it. On December 20 this theme became reality as through the compelling testimonies of faithful young men who took part in HTC's first - but definitely not the last -- Kingdom Assignment project.
Well done, good and faithful servants!
As said in the words from Lamentations 3:22-23, Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his mercies never fail, they are new every morning. GREAT IS HIS FAITHFULNESS." We are witnessing firsthand how God keeps true to his promises at the HTC Women's Program. The young women are growing spiritually and learning to walk in their freedom in Christ and their families are being reconstructed.
Without a doubt, one of Haiti's deepest problems is "fatherlessness" and a broken family system. The family is the driving force behind every existing institution that holds society together including: churches, government, and businesses. When it falls apart, society falls apart. God is the designer of "family" and we know it is at the heart of the Father for every family to be rebuilt and restored. Through God's intervention, Haiti Teen Challenge is directing the young men and women of Haiti towards the Father and they are finding in Him redemption and restoration. They are bringing this joy and truth back to their families and they are breaking the cycle of broken families.
We know there is fruitful life ahead for every one of our young women and a hopeful assurance for a brighter future. Here is one example of a life transformation from our student, Naftalie.
My name is Naftalie Bien Aimé, I was living with my dad and my stepmother because my biological mom had abandoned me. At 13 years old, my father passed away. and my stepmother began to mistreat me. Being so tired of how she treated me I declared that I was an adult at 14 years old. As an adult, I needed to take care of myself. I started to beg on the streets and sell my body so I could eat and clothe myself. I used to go to clubs to dance as a showgirl, drink alcohol and smoke.
I started to come and go, and do as I pleased; which made my stepmom even more furious. I eventually became homeless because my stepmom kicked me out. I was forced to sleep on roofs, porches and the streets. I was arrogant. I used to insult people. I enjoyed doing these things and being on the streets because I did not know that I could be anything better.
Through HTC I've come to know God. I have buried all of my sinful ways and Jesus has changed my life. I am SAVED! I am a new person. I no longer have the desire to insult people. I have stopped being arrogant. Everyday, I am learning how to let go of my painful past and embrace God's future for me.
There is a move of God in this nation like never before. The promise found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is becoming more evident in Haiti. Young men and women are humbling themselves, they are praying, they are seeking God's face and we stand confident that God will heal our land! I began this year with the same spirit of gratitude that I ended it with last year. I am convinced that through the turmoil, political unrest and the noise of the world, Haiti stands Healed.
Knowing that you are on this journey with us makes it even more enjoyable. Our family, students and staff pray for you often. Without you there would be no HTC Women's Program. We ask for your continued support to so that more young men and women will be empowered to transformed their lives and rebuild their nation for the glory of God.
Today it is my privilege to share about God's blessings in my life. I was rejected by society, but God redeemed me. He used Haiti Teen Challenge to restore my life.
I grew up in the community of Fort-Mercredi/Bolosse, a very difficult area where the population lives under the power of the wicked. My mom worked very hard to pay for my education and to feed me and my brother and sisters. But, sometimes it was not enough and we would miss school and were hungry. In our family it was an obligation to go to church, but at age 16, I declared to my mom that I was an adult and I had no interest in attending church. I believed if God was so good, we would not be so poor.
I joined a gang and with other young men abused alcohol and drugs as we gambled, stole and raped women. When I turned 18, I moved into the gang house, so I could have more freedom. This led me to even darker places; more drinking, visiting brothels, participating in all sorts of bad carousing.
One night the police tried to arrested me when I was visiting a brothel, but I managed to escape in spite of gunfire. Another time, after leaving a night club, another gang tried to shoot me, but thanks to God I was able to escaped again. I had become very dangerous and did whatever I wanted to, whenever I wanted. One night I broke the locks of a school, so my friends and I could use it a gathering base. I said that if the guard discovered us, I would shoot him.
The people of the town sought to capture me and the mayor sent a police force to take me down. I was defiant, I wanted to declare war on the police. My friends avoided me and they said they wouldn't go into hiding for me because they did not want anything to do with my actions. This led me to run away, but God had a plan for me. He found me while I was hiding.
In my desperation, a graduate from Haiti Teen Challenge told me about the HTC program and what it could do to change my life. I told him they would never accept me because of my dirty habits, he said" The program is for people like you, because Christ has not come for the righteous". I was surprised to see that Wilnès spoke to me about God, because I knew he used to a bad guy, but I could see that now there was something special about him.
I signed up and was selected as a HTC student. It was hard for me to be in one place for that long with no access to the outside world. Every day I was studying the Bible, going to chapel, having devotions. Every Sunday I went to church, every day I did chores, and helped my neighbors. I created great trouble during my first three months in the program, but they never gave up on me. Every day from morning until night I learned about who I was meant to be.
I no longer wanted to joke or tease others. My new character was established at HTC, as I came to know what it meant to be a Christian. I know now that I am
responsible to use my time and my talents to serve God and others. The training I received at HTC in IT (Information Technology), leadership and the Bible is helping me to help others implement God in their lives.
I take this opportunity to apologize to all those I have offended by my hurtful words, and others, to whom I acted badly and the entire community of Fort-Mercredi/Borlosse. I want to share with you this verse that helped me build my character,
"Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God." 2 Corinthians 7: 1
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,
By Claudia, L.I.F.E. Trip participant
What a gift I received when I said yes to going to Haiti for the launch of the Haiti Teen Challenge Women's Program. Leaving the comforts of home with 5 other women to spend time in a developing world country-thinking I can do anything for six days! We came to serve. During our visit we experienced some of the challenges of Port Au Prince by riding in a car over amazingly difficult terrain called "roads" and witnessed the struggles of a country working to govern itself as protests, burning tires and unrest brewed in the neighborhoods following the announcement of the presidential runoff elections. But we knew we had been called to come and God was with us.
Arriving at the Haiti Teen Challenge Women's home, we were anxious to meet the 12 young women, ages 16 - 22 who had just entered the new program. We entered and precious choral voices rose up to meet us. The powerful presence of God was there along with a strong belief that lives were going to be changed. But as I rounded the corner of the stairway, I was greeted with unwelcoming stares that did not seem to match the voices I heard. The solemn look on twelve young women reminded me that they had not yet embraced the safety and love of this place. They were guarded and untrusting. Few knew each other when they arrived and now, they were being besieged with women with foreign tongues.
We sought to explain why we were there, that the same God that loves us loves them. That we believed God wanted us to meet, to pray for them, their circumstances, and their future. Early one morning we gathered together around a deep hole in a simple garden under a large shaded tree. The HTC women leadership team questioned the 12 young women about their lives, their behaviors, their own free will, and asked, "Are you willing to give everything over to God so that change can occur?" Next the young women took turns proclaiming out loud their desire to give to Jesus the burdens and brokenness of their lives, and then dropped a rock into the hole as they acknowledged sexual promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, prostitution, anger, fighting, harden hearts, rebellion, rejection, and fear. As we circled these young women and began to pray over them they began to weep. They put their arms around one another, and stood over those who fell to their knees. One young girl struggled to raise her head and look into the eyes of another who said, "Look at me. God loves you. I love you."
Over the next few days, as we worked together, ate together, and worshipped together - trust began to grow. You could see a difference in their eyes. Smiles started to peek out of the strongly guarded faces. One morning my daughter shared her personal testimony that spoke of shame and guilt. The girls' heads began to bow down...they understood. In support of my daughter, I spoke of a mother's love for her child. A desire for a daughter to be healed and receive the ultimate love of God the Father, how surrendering our free will to a Father who has always loved us and will never leave us can set us free. How great is our God!
What an honor to be a part of the official launch of the HTC Women's Program! With planning already done by the Haiti Teen Challenge staff, all we had to do was step into action. The young women decorated their new home with balloons and flowers, food was prepared, and serving tables set. It does not matter where you are....as women, we gather together and do what we do best - helping each other.
Let the Grand Opening Ceremony begin!
Everyone was welcomed by Julio and Suzette Volcy. The new roommates sang newly learned worship songs and three of the young women shared their story of their past and their hope for their future. You saw many tears being wiped off cheeks, even from the men who came to celebrate. The evening closed in a ribbon cutting ceremony and circling around the entire outside of the house, lifting the HTC home up in prayer. It was quite a successful evening, and also the 40th birthday of Suzette Volcy, the HTC Women's Program Director. As far as Suzette was concerned, God had given her the best birthday present ever - the opening of a home that will not only change the lives of women, but will change the life of a nation!
Our day of departure came.
How do you say, "good bye" to a place that is making such a difference? Saturday morning, before our flight out of Haiti, we stopped in to worship with the girls. We needed to let them know we were going physically, but not leaving them spiritually, for they are now deep in our hearts. We were given an opportunity to place over them a prayer shawl that women from our church knitted and prayed over. There was one for each girl, declaring a verse that God so wanted them to claim for themselves: Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
GOD KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING...High up at the top of a mountain overlooking Port Au Prince we had exactly seven minutes to take in the view of Haiti before we caught our plane back to the states. Soaking in the people of Haiti, and now the countryside...it was as if God said to me, "I place upon you a permanent print of who I am and what I am doing in the people of the country of Haiti."
Thank you for letting me tell you some of my story and please celebrate with me the transformation that God is doing in the lives of young men and women though Haiti Teen Challenge!
"Se Le Nou Sa"- This is our time. The women's program will officially launch this November in Haiti! Someone once said to me "find your strong voice to live your strong life." "Voice" is defined as a sound made by a human being using the vocal folds for talking, singing, laughing, crying, and screaming. According to this definition, the voice has the power to express many emotions.
For many years, the young women of Haiti have been voicing the need for a program to help them deal with their life-debilitating issues. They have been crying out for a place that would help them put together the remaining broken pieces of uncontrollable addictions and abuse. They all hunger and thirst for the transformation and freedom that they have witnessed in the lives of the young men of HTC. And now, it is their turn to experience the same.
I am tickled by what God is doing through the ministry of Haiti Teen Challenge. As many of you already know, God is actively moving in Haiti. He has heard the voices of these young women who no longer want to feed their addictions, and has moved the hearts of many to take action.
Growing up, I have experienced pain and hardship in many ways but nothing compared to the abuse, shame, and brokenness that I have read in these young women's applications. Some things I will never understand to the fullest, but one thing I know is that God allowed me to go through painful experiences for the purpose of bringing me into the lives of these women-that His name is exalted and His voice be heard through me. The pain, hurts, brokenness and the healing process that I went through, are all tools God used to sharpen my voice. My voice is my concealed weapon that God gave me to speak into the lives of these women, to tell them that I too was broken and hopeless but God healed me. If He did it for me, He will definitely do it for them.
With no public announcement for the Haiti Teen Challenge women's program, about eighty young women have already applied to be part of this life-changing journey. In a matter of time, ten of these beautiful young women will move in to embark on a journey with endless possibilities, and all with the hope of finding their voice and trading their sorrows for joy and receiving beauty for ashes.
The home has been secured. The staff is in place. The 10 women have been identified. We are ready to run. Prophet Elijah said it best in 1 Kings, "The rain is coming. The cloud is on the horizon." We are ready to run. It is through your partnership we are able to reach these men and women in Haiti. Thank you for running with us. Moreover, thank you for your continuous support and prayers. Their story would not be the same without your partnership. Please join me at one of the events in Minnesota to learn more about HTC's programs and how you can continue to partner with us.
Women's Program Director