Now is the time for all of our parish family to come together with every gift pledge, large or small, as we celebrate God's work here at St. Philip's and prepare for future ministry. Whether it's a few dollars from a child's lemonade stand or a more substantial gift, every person in our parish family matters, and we want everyone to be part of this generational opportunity to shine the light. If you haven't yet pledged, now is the time--as the old song says, "This little light of mine; I'm going to let it shine!" We need all those lights together to shine brightly for the Gospel!

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News

An Update from Our Sister Church in Haiti

News--Haiti Update 2024

The Haiti spirit of endurance and persistence through trust and faith in the Lord is well known: it is how they have survived so much with so little and still have the joy of the Lord. St. Philip’s sister church in Haiti, St. Jean-Baptiste (St. John the Baptist), is a good example of this faith that produces joy and hope in the midst of suffering!

The church is located in the village of Plaine Mapou, which is nestled in a valley high up in the mountains of La Gonâve Island, just off the coast of mainland Haiti.

Living off the coast of an impoverished island like Haiti has always been a challenge for La Gonâvans––and for missionary travelers, too. But in these times of gang violence in Port-au-Prince and other cities on the mainland, being on the island and being remote has been a blessing. So far, La Gonâve  has been “forgotten” by the gangs. The main problem has been getting the needed supplies that the island can’t produce, such as medicines, equipment, fuel, and much more. Fortunately we are still able to safely wire money down to our partners, but they still have to risk traveling to the mainland to get many of the needed supplies. The old way on a large ferry boat across the shortest span is no longer an option. The only way now is by smaller sail boats to more distant destinations.

Haiti Map

Once our friends from La Gonâve finally do arrive safely on the mainland, they still  face a dangerous journey on the roads. Difficult travel and risk of robbery and kidnapping add to the cost of every trip. It is a life-or-death journey to procure what the island cannot produce, and it is all the more heartbreaking when they discover that what is needed cannot be found. Even though they are resilient and determined, three years of dealing with this danger and runaway inflation feels unbearable at times.

But in spite of these incredible challenges, the school year started off as usual in September with our students at St. Jean Baptiste Church school getting new backpacks and supplies thanks to the financial support of St. Philip’s.

Screenshot 2024-02-12 at 3.36.26 PM

St. Jean-Baptiste Church School students show off the backpacks they received with St. Philip’s support

Screenshot 2024-02-12 at 3.59.56 PM

Children in their clean uniforms as they prepare for the morning devotion at around 7:30, before the older students have all arrived. The building on the left is for students in grades 2–6. The building on the right is for preschool and 1st grade.

St. Jean-Baptiste is also excited to have a new lay pastor and school principal, Mr. Fanord Guy (pronounced Fan-O). He grew up in the nearby village of Lotore, where he was an acolyte and a school teacher, and he also helped with the mobile medical clinics. Support from St. Philip’s helped to purchase a motorbike for him to use as he travels back and forth from Plaine Mapou to his home in Lotore and down to the capital city of the island, Anse-à-Galets.

So, life at our sister church carries on, even if it is even harder than usual. There is still hope that the violence on the mainland will be resolved and Haiti can begin to move forward again and grow into the beautiful country that it could be. Adult literacy classes and adult Bible classes continue, and regular medical clinics are still held. New projects for a security and retaining wall around the church and school compound are in the planning stages. Haiti was blessed with no major hurricanes this past year, and there is hope that this spring and summer will bring good weather and plentiful crop yields.

With the prayers and support of faithful friends like St. Philip’s, our brothers and sisters in Christ will persevere and grow in character and in hope. And hope will not lead to disappointment, because God’s love has been poured out into their hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 

Please hold the people of La Gonâve Island and specifically our sister church, St. Jean-Baptiste, in your prayers for 2024. We are partners with them through joy and pain.

To learn more about the history of our involvement in Haiti, contact Gerry McCord at gerrymccord@gmail.com. For more information about our Sister Church and the other nine churches on the island of La Gonâve and the partnership that coordinates and supports them all, please visit lagonavepartners.org. Donations can be made through this website or through St. Philip’s; be sure to note St. Jean-Baptiste Church and School in the memo.