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Thursday, October 17, 2019
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 Luke 2
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How Will We Treat the Holy Spirit?
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Will America Fall?   
Isaiah 64:6
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God's Word for Everyday     
Isaiah 41:10
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Life's Highway
Isaiah 30:20-21
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The Journey of Life
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Count Your Blessings
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Haiti Mission Report

Haiti Mission Report

The Work in Haiti, January 29 to February 5.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It was good to see many old friends in Haiti, and to meet many new ones.  We gathered with more than sixty-five fellow believers at the little church which only last year was being used as a voodoo temple. The small block building with a tin roof had been the scene of many horrible crimes perpetrated by the voodoo priest.  The neighbors lived in fear of the man, and some of the neighbors reported that human sacrifices had taken place there. 

When the Good Neighbor Orphanage moved into its temporary quarters next door last Spring, the voodoo priest began to have trouble.  He came to John Thelus who runs the orphanage, and said that the demonic spirit that he used to perform his work was no longer “coming down.”  He had become powerless and was wondering if John would buy his temple so he could move away.  With help from Darl Strable in Ohio and a few others, John was able to buy the temple and its property for about $2,000.  Darl led a group of young people who worked hard to clean up the site and make it fit for use as a church. 

We were there last June as this work was going on, and got to help with the clean-up project.  Many voodoo amulets and charms were found in and around the property, and we made a large pile and began to burn them.  The people from the neighborhood came to watch, and many looked frightened.  I think they expected something terrible to happen to us.  Along with local workers, the property was cleaned, a new concrete floor was poured in the church, the building was given a fresh coat of paint, and the ground around the building were cleared of trash and an old vehicle body.    

Most importantly, a service of Christian dedication was held, prayers of dedication were prayed, and songs glorifying Jesus Christ were sung in that place.  John reported that several of the neighbors came and thanked him for getting rid of the priest, as they were terrified of the man.  Jonathan Martin, a young man from Knoxville, who was shooting video of the trip, was told by one of the neighbors that children had been killed by the priest in black magic rituals, and bodies had been burned and remains buried on the property. 

As we gathered on that Sunday morning last June to dedicate that place to God, we could not help but be aware of the evil that had once resided there.  Americans have little idea of the depth of fear and evil in which many people live in other parts of the world.  In Haiti, voodoo is the largest religion, and the former President of Haiti, Jean Paul Aristide is said to have declared voodoo as the national religion, even as he renounced his Catholicism (in which he had been an ordained priest).  On that Sunday morning we preached about the power of the Gospel to save, and we proclaimed freedom from fear that is found in Christ.   

This last week as we returned to that former temple, now the Redemption Church, and a Good Neighbor mission ministry, we were delighted to find that more than sixty people had come to attend pastor training.   I asked how many had suffered the loss of a family member or close friend in the earthquake, and about 90% put up their hands.  For five days we focused on the sacrifice of  Jesus Christ on the cross, as we went deeply into the doctrines of the Atonement.  On the first day we proclaimed our goal: “We want you to leave this training loving Jesus Christ more than you ever have.”  Our goals were met, and on Friday, the last day, the pastors stood and spoke about what the week had meant to them. 

We are thrilled to see the pastor training resume after the disruption of the last year in Haiti.  Bruce Martin, pastor of New Harmony Baptist led the training sessions.  I spoke, as did Phil Ogle of the Ogle Foundation.  Kirk Yates, the director of New Media here at Radio Bible Hour provided training on worship ministry and music in the church. Music is a big part of worship in Haiti, and his help and information were well received.  Kirk’s wife Dawn Yates is an expert in public health, and did extensive training on communicable diseases to educate the pastors on the risks facing their church members.  She provided a lot of printed material for them to take back to their churches to share.  Right now Haiti is facing a variety of health challenges.  High rates of sexually transmitted diseases, as well as recent outbreaks of cholera are creating serious threats to the country.  They are also dealing with high levels of tuberculosis and malaria.  A friend from Knoxville, Chris Russell had shipped a container of supplies into Haiti the week before we arrived, and included were New Testaments in the Creole language.  The pastors each received several boxes of  New Testaments to take back to give to their people.

While we were there, we were able to meet with a contractor and show him the plans for the new mission complex and orphanage which we hope to start building this year.  I have learned that in Haiti, our plans are seldom going to turn out as we envision.  God always has a better idea, but we are excited about this project, and are waiting for the first bids on the new orphanage buildings.   

It was also a joy to take some of the legal documents down for a couple of families that are preparing to adopt children from the Good Neighbor orphanage.  We are praying for this process to go smoothly and for the Lord’s blessing on the adoptions.  Each child adopted will be going to a strong Christian family here in the United States, and will open up a slot at the orphanage for John to take in another child. 

It was a blessing to work with this team.  Phil and Bruce and I have worked together for many years, but is was our first time to travel and work with Kirk and Dawn.  Kirk and Dawn are not new to mission work, however, and have served on several mission trips to Venezuela, and trips to Honduras and Costa Rica.  In spite of eating the same meal, breakfast and dinner, with cheese crackers for lunch, for six days in a row, we were blessed to a great week of  Bible study and pastor training.

In Haiti we noticed gradual improvements in the cleaning up of the earthquake debris, but we also noticed a huge increase in the number of tarp-shelters, especially in areas outside the city.  One night we were asked to be in our hotel before 6:00 PM as election results were to be announced.  On another night there was a loud explosion and later several gunshots which we never heard more about.  On the local news one morning we saw a report that a building damaged by the earthquake had collapsed with some loss of life. The roads we traveled are steadily getting worse, and of the two cars the orphanage operates, three major repairs were required in the space of a week.  It is hard just to keep things operating in Haiti.  In contrast to all this difficulty, we saw the looks of hope and happiness on the faces of the pastors as they do the hard work of serving God in one of the most dangerous places on earth.

Thank you all who contributed, and are contributing to continue and develop the work in Haiti.  As we begin the construction on the orphanage and mission center this year, we cannot wait to see the work that God will do in that new place.  The pastors have long dreamed of having a low cost seminary which will prepare them to better serve their people.  Pray that God’s blessing will be on the project and that we will be able to build   a lighthouse for God’s Word and Work for many years to come.






Mission Update - August 2010

Monday, October 04, 2010

In June we were in Haiti to finalize the purchase of eight acres outside of Port-au-Prince where we are planning to locate the new mission center.  Derrick Simpson, a young architect, and grand-nephew of J. Harold Smith, went with us to help plan the site.  Derrick began drawing up the site plan which will eventually include a fifty bed orphanage, a pastor training center, a church and school, and mission team housing.  The land is beautiful and is situated in a safe area outside the city.  It will be within an hour’s drive from the airport, and will be a good location for mission teams who wish to carry out mission work in the city.


The highlight of the trip was the dedication of a former voodoo temple as a new mission church.  (See Christian Living in this issue.)  The voodoo priest said that since the Good Neighbor Orphanage moved next door (after the earthquake) his spirit would no longer come down, so he had lost his power, and was going to have to move.  John Thelus, who manages the orphanage, raised the money to buy the building.  This is a great victory for God’s work.  Darl Strable, an old mission friend from Ohio, helped raise the money, and took a team of young people to Haiti to do the hard work of helping clean up and clean out the building. They made a great personal sacrifice to get that work done; it was hot and dirty work, but with God’s help, they did it joyfully and well.  It is really exciting to see young people involved in doing God’s work.


The Port-au-Prince area is still in terrible condition after the quake, but everywhere there are signs the city is being cleaned up, and things are getting back to normal.  The big problem this summer is the tropical rain, and with more than one million people living in temporary tents, the situation is very difficult for those people.  There is a growing risk of widespread disease outbreaks, and there is a rising crime problem.  Mission teams have to be careful about when and where they travel because of kidnappings.


But God is at work, and we are committed to remaining there over the next few years to help in the rebuilding process.  Our pastor training efforts will continue, and we are planning a November pastor-training conference to be held at the new church in Port-au-Prince.


One of the missions of the Radio Bible Hour is Christian education.  Each month we try to make good books and study helps available to our supporters.  This Fall we are preparing to celebrate the opening of the J. Harold Smith Bible Institute and Pastor Training Center in collaboration with Carson-Newman College.  The first classes will be held at First Baptist Church, in Morristown, Tennessee this Fall.  The first course for pastors will be on Biblical Preaching, and we are excited about how the Lord will use this institute to strengthen pastors and their churches.  There is no mission work more important than the home mission work of strengthening small churches.  These little churches with less than three hundred members are the backbone of the body of Christ, and yet they are often neglected and their pastors serve under very tough conditions.  We love them and believe that God has a great reward in store for these wonderful people who serve in these smaller churches.  

Mission Update - Thursday - January 28, 2010

Monday, October 04, 2010

We arrived in Santo Domingo yesterday, with thirteen team members and 44 bags.  The flight was smooth, and we were helped through the airport by Dr. Victor Atallah, a Dominican cardiologist.  We boarded the bus and headed for the hospital complex on the Haitian border.  We are staying in the Radio Bible Hour house and the Ogle Foundation house, and felt earth tremors during the night.  Today we had breakfast at the hospital, and the medical people with us checked in and were asked to serve running one of the units on the night shift.  They will be working from 7PM until 7AM, and will need our prayers.  There are patients everywhere, even camping out in the yard because people are afraid of being inside buildings.


We went on to Port-au-Prince and the orphanage.  The children looked good, but were beginning to have some digestive problems.  We delivered two large water purifiers which will give them clean water.  Some of the men erected a large tarp to provide shade for the children and staff, since it is unsafe to be in the house.  The orphanage building has large cracks in the yard and the walls are very cracked and damaged so the building is dangerous.  Several of us entered the orphanage building and removed the children's records, while walking very carefully.


We got resources to John and the orphans, and tomorrow they are going to receive a load of food from a wonderful group called Children of  the Nations who work a lot in Africa. The miracle is that none of the orphans were injured, since the house directly across the street was totally destroyed and two were killed there.


We brought two injured ladies back to the hospital in Jimani to be treated for injuries. The medical people are doing wonderful work, and are serving in very difficult conditions.  Dorothy and Dale Betterton of International Medical Alliance have been working non-stop since the earthquake, and are exhausted, but doing amazing work.


Thanks again for all who have contributed to help send relief and help to these people. The situation in Port-au-Prince is hard to describe, with building after building flattened. It is hard to imagine what these people have been through.

Mission Update - Friday - January 22, 2010

Monday, October 04, 2010

The last few days we have busy coordinating our trip to Haiti.  We leave next Tuesday, and will be going with a medical team with three doctors and three nurses.  In addition, Phil and Bud Ogle will be going with us to check on their churches and schools in Haiti.


We plan to travel to Santo Domingo with medical supplies and other relief supplies, then travel to Jimani on the Haitian border.  The medical team will be staying there and working with the many injured Haitians who have crossed the border for treatment.


The Radio Bible Hour mission house in Jimani, and the Ogle Foundation mission house, have been filled with medical teams since the catastrophe, and we are giving them first priority.  We will probably be sleeping on air mattresses on the floor, or out under tarps in the open air.  


Phil, Bud and I will be going on to Port-au-Prince to try to reach John and the orphans, and we will work to try and relocate them to a safer place.  Please pray for us, as we will be taking more than 1200 pounds of medicine and relief supplies.


Please pray for the safety of the team, and that we will be effective in bringing glory to our Lord.  Please pray for John Thelus, our ministry coordinator in Haiti, and for the many pastors that we know in Haiti.  Pray for the Ogle Foundation’s churches and schools, and for their pastors, teachers and students, and finally, pray that God will intervene in Haiti to bring salvation to the many people who are lost.


Of all the places on earth, God has called us to respond to, this place which is probably the most desperate and hopeless place in the world right now.  It is a privilege to be able to go an represent our Lord in that place.  Pray that we will be good servants of Him.


Thank you to all of you who have contributed so generously over the past week to help with this work.  With God’s help, and for His glory, we will all be a blessing to many on this trip.  

Mission Update: Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sunday, October 03, 2010

We are giving thanks to God today.  The orphanage which we sponsor in Port-au-Prince was destroyed in the earthquake, but none of the children or staff were injured.  John Thelus has the children staying at his home with his wife and three children, and the workers.  His home was only slightly damaged.  We are looking for a new site, further out in the country, for a new home for the orphanage.  We are sad to lose the orphanage, but trust God's wisdom in all things.


Dr. Marc reports that the hospital which we helped build in Jimani, Dominican Republic, now has more than 1800 casualties from Haiti.  Pray for these poor people who have lost so much.  Pray for wisdom and guidance as we decide how best to respond to all the needs.


Don Smith

The Tragedy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 9:30 AM on Wednesday, January 13

Sunday, October 03, 2010

I have just spoken with Dr. Marc Pinard by phone.  He reports that Jimani, on the Dominican-Haitian border is not damaged. The children at the orphanage in Jimani are okay.  Although they felt the earthquake and aftershocks, the buildings are intact. As I spoke to him, he was crossing the border into Haiti to see what they could do.


The new hospital building in Jimani will be used to treat as many injured Haitians as they can bring back.  Pray for them.  He will be out of touch through the day, but plans on being back in Jimani tonight, and hopefully he will have some news from our orphanage in Port-au-Prince.


The situation in Port-au-Prince is still unclear. There is no cell phone service, no electricity, etc.   The orphanage is a one-story building, and there are no large open spaces.  The largest room has several support columns, so we are hopeful that it is still standing.   I have not been able to reach John Thelus who supervises the orphanage.


Please pray for God's mercy, and that God will use this event to bring the people of Haiti to faith in Jesus Christ.  Pray for all the people who will be going to help. We will share information as it becomes available. 


Don Smith, President

Radio Bible Hour, Inc.