FOND-PARISIEN, Haiti — Faith Church in St. Louis, Mo. has committed itself to helping Haiti rebuild and flourish. Tithes and offerings have made it possible for Faith Church to make a difference in the lives of those living in the most remote areas of Haiti.
After the tragic earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, the world rushed to aid Haiti during its time of deep need. However, new global crises have emerged over the past four years and taken precedence over Haiti. Faith Church continues its humanitarian efforts in Haiti as some supporters of the Caribbean nation move on to other international issues that require attention.
Life in Haiti
Pastors David and Nicole Crank have visited the remote villages of Haiti that have been ravaged by extreme poverty. They found that villagers in Fond-Parisien must live without basic necessities. Villagers have no clean water, electricity or reliable shelter.
The only source of water is a lake full of salt water, which is undrinkable. In a remote village near Lake Azuei, the mud huts villagers call home cannot withstand the elements. Mud huts are essentially made of sticks, mud and leaves. Rain washes away the mud walls and soaks the belongings inside.
No jobs are available for villagers despite their need and desire to make a living for their families. The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) World Factbook reported that unemployment and underemployment in Haiti are nationwide. Most Haitians must work in the informal sector as more than two-thirds of the labor force are not formally employed.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) described Haiti as one of the most impoverished countries in the Americas. According to the World Bank, 80 percent of Haitians must survive on a daily wage of less than $2. Agriculture and commerce are the two industries that employ most Haitians. The informal sector, where most Haitians work, does not generate enough money. Haitians working in the informal sector are unable to earn an adequate income.
The overall health of Haitians has suffered as a result of the widespread poverty. USAID stated that Haiti has one of the worst health indicators in the world. The Haitian health system and government have endured many obstacles. Such obstacles have impeded their ability to solve the numerous public health issues gripping the nation.
The health of children suffers greatly from the poor living conditions in Haiti. Pastor David Crank noted that Haitian children are so malnourished that their hair turns a reddish-brown hue from the lack of nutrition. The World Food Programme (WFP) revealed that one in every five children are afflicted by chronic malnutrition and 6.5 percent of children suffer from acute malnutrition. More than half of women and children in Haiti are anemic.
Faith Church Takes Action
Faith Church is a quickly growing church with global aspirations. It has three campuses in Missouri and has added a new location in West Palm Beach, Fla. Faith Church even live streams its services on its official website, FaithChurch.com. Pastors David and Nicole Crank have a global state of mind and encourage their congregation to have one too. Rather than simply give Haitians food, Faith Church invests in Haiti so that Haiti can grow and become self-sufficient.
The “teach the man to fish” mentality of Faith Church is helping Haitians create opportunities for themselves. Faith Church has donated tithes and offerings to fund projects undertaken by Love a Child, a Christian humanitarian and missionary organization. Faith Church and Love a Child have collaborated on efforts that empower rural Haitians to pull themselves out of poverty.
Economic development is imperative to eradicating poverty in Haiti. The money raised by Faith Church is helping Love a Child build the Marketplace. The Marketplace is to be a large and upscale flee market. Haitian villagers will receive interest-free loans and buy wholesale products to sell at retail at the Marketplace.
Haitian villagers will be taught how to sell products such as clothing and food at the Marketplace. Love a Child plans to educate them through business classes and training seminars. The Marketplace will be first-time employment for the individuals working there.
Haitian villagers need safe homes to live in because mud huts are not reliable shelter. The contributions made by Faith Church have aided in the building of the Miracle Village. The Miracle Village is a fenced in community of 500 houses. Each two bedroom house has a front porch, dining room and living room.
The houses in the Miracle Village each cost $3,000, but residents live in them rent-free. Residents officially own the houses after five years if they maintain the property well. Miracle Village residents have never previously owned a home. The set conditions of homeownership teach the Haitian villagers how to be responsible homeowners.
The Miracle Village provides accessible clean water from wells located within walking distance of the houses. The wells cost $5,000 each. The 200 feet deep wells are mounted on cement pads and come with the convenience of a hand pump. Women and children come to the wells to fill buckets with water for their daily needs.
The Power of Giving
Faith Church members once donated as much as $33,000 in a single week of church services to fund the Haiti missions. Pastors David and Nicole Crank and their ever-growing congregation of 10,000 demonstrate the power of giving to overcome extreme poverty.