"Promo, Success," was the theme of Graduation. Young men who fought against one another, stole from one another, had become brothers. As graduation approached they encouraged and supported one another, wanting for every brother to succeed. Where there had been hate, there was now love, where there had been battles, there was now unity.
Friday morning foot washing, a powerful symbolic ceremony exemplifying what it means to serve one another, led to Saturday morning's graduation ceremony.
The Commissioner of Police spoke of the current state of Haiti.
"No fathers, no mothers, no good examples on how to live. We have only bad examples in abundance; drugs, kidnapping, alcohol, sex, the giving of oneself over to all sorts of evil. Everyone is after power and will do whatever it takes; it is an epidemic, consuming our society. But because of Jesus and Haiti Teen Challenge, I tell you today, there is hope."
The Commissioner quoted I Samuel 2:21-26, and spoke directly to the students, "You who are graduating today, you have a choice to make, to continue in your walk with Jesus, or based on your stories, end up dead or in prison. Remember that it is only the presence and fear of God in your lives that will protect you and keep you. Young Samuel had conviction; he had character, if you want success stick to the word of God. 'Grow in stature and in favor with the Lord.' "
Graduate Flerzile Marc Kenson Junior shared; while my mother did her best, the absence of my father caused me a lot of suffering. By the age of 19 I was dependent on alcohol, I would rather have died than give it up. I needed to get drunk before doing anything, spent more and more time in bad company, and sometimes did not come home for days.
By the grace of God I came to HTC but caused great trouble with the students and the staff. I was arrogance, I was difficult in every possible way, but they supported me. I began to become aware that God has a plan for me. Thus little by little, God is working in my life. He redoes me, and many of my bad habits have disappeared. Now my vision is to become a counselor, to share the training that I received with other young people. My council for the present fathers "do not abandon your children, do not leave them with the care of the mothers because the children need the love of both."
The National Commission against Drugs Official spoke of the need for strong fathers. "To the graduates today, I encourage you to be good fathers, be good examples. Be agents of transformation. Go and make this whole nation full of disciples for Christ. In Acts you are promised that you will receive power and that you will be my witnesses. Haiti Teen Challenge students you have a call on your lives. Your testimonies are giving hope and we are now believing that transformation is possible in the nation of Haiti