Three main churches are under the umbrella of Christian Friendship Ministries in Haiti. These include the main church located in Pignon, as well as a church in St. Raphael and Savanette. In addition, there are 12 operating “outstations” or small house churches that have the potential to grow into places of worship.
Church building in St. Raphael provides a place to worship
The Bridge Evangelical Church in Fresno, California raised the funds in February 2009 to build a new church building for the congregation in St. Raphael. The church building there had been too small for the growing congregation and needed a lot of repairs. Construction began on the building and the projected completion date is February 2010.
On a typical Sunday morning in St. Raphael – a small dot in the northern mountains of Haiti – hundreds of people journey to church. Some walk a few miles. Others walk several hours to join a church community they have been part of for years. Children and adults squeeze onto dilapidated wooden benches called pews.
“I was the first to be saved in the church,” says Filomen, who goes by Madame Saint Luck, the traditional Haitian way for married women to be called by their husband’s first name. Madame Saint Luck attended the church back when it was a little “lean-to” under a large tree. In the 27 years she’s been a member, she’s watched the numbers grow and the faith of the people as well.
Madame Saint Luck invited her own family from the surrounding area and eventually she and her sister and her husband were the first baptisms in the church. Now at age 76, she helps the church’s pastor, Louis Constantin, and encourages the young leaders.
She quotes John 4:24 and says, “God is the truth and we should worship Him in spirit and truth.”
Madame Saint Luck has faith God will raise up a new church building for her people. She prays she will be able to see the new building come to fruition.
Louis Constantin has been the church’s pastor for 45 years now. He has been a part of the ministry since he was a young man discipled by Pastor Oran Bell, the first American missionary to work in this area. He shows the various buildings that have been erected in stages – first a home where the American missionaries who started the church first lived, a main church building that today is broken down and too small to house the some 400-hundred people plus children who crowd the space on Sunday mornings, and a more recently-built cement Sunday School classroom.
Louis shares that his congregation has been praying for a new church building for many years. In faith they participated in the building. Each Sunday church-goers carry rocks from the nearby river to the church site and make a pile. They believe these rocks will be used to help build the new church and they want to be a part of what God will do there.