HELPING HAITI DAY 3: Planting the seeds

HAITI (KTRE) - Becky and Zac Weems have been on mission trips to Haiti several times. They've held Vacation Bible Schools, soccer camps and just lent support when needed. But this time around, they have a long-term goal in mind.

Becky explained that it's easy to come to Haiti, "drop a bomb" of food, care and love and then leave. But now it's time to make a long-term difference.

It isn't like the past trips have been worthless. It took those trips to come to a point where they are now. They had to learn the area and the needs to know what to do next.

"That's when I went to Pastor Pat [Kelly] and told him we want to help plant a church," Becky said.

Which is what Fredonia Hill Baptist Church is doing in the community of Merger. Pastor Gabriel has started a church out of his home. Dr. Jacob Benard, the authoritative Christian voice in Haiti, referred the Weems to him.

Gabriel has always had the natural skills to be a pastor. And now he's armed with the formal skills.

The Weems are excited about planting the seeds in Merger. It's a five-year partnership Fredonia Hill has entered with them. We're here to help and not to build it by ourselves.We'll help supply the essential items they need, but it is definitely the church in Merger's project. If we do this all on our own, what good would it do? Pastor Gabriel's congregation looks up to him and will follow his lead. They just need the key ingredients for a fresh start.

One of those ingredients is water. Roger Russell has been the co-owner of a water-drilling business for 34 years. He has joined us on the trip.

"One day in church, Becky talked about this mission trip to Haiti and said something about building a well," Russell said. "And you know, when God is speaking to you, you have to do what He says. And that's what I felt he was doing."

Pastor Gabriel is looking at a piece of land to purchase in Merger and Russell took a look at it Wednesday to try to determine if a water well is even a possibility.

Russell determined a well is possible in the area, but not on top of the hill Gabriel would want it. However, he does feel it's possible to build one on Gabriel's property.

I joined Zac, Fredonia Hill Pastor Pat Kelly, Russell and Pastor Simon, who is the president of the association of Baptist churches in Haiti Wednesday morning. We took a five-minute hike up the mountain, where Gabriel showed us where he wants to build the church.

The view was absolutely gorgeous and I joined the pastors in praying over the land and in seeking His assistance in having the church built. It was a powerful and emotional moment, hearing prayers and Bible verses in English and Creole.

Back at Gabriel's house, his congregation of more than 100 were there for a medical clinic, as several of our staff, who work as nurses, ran them through to address their medical needs. It took four hours with no breaks, but everyone's needs were addressed. I was really amazed at the tireless efforts the team put into serving today. I can tell it took its toll on them as I look around the bus and see most of them passed out on the seats.

We have 112 index cards with each person's name on it and their concerns. Now, we will hand it off to Pastor Gabriel, who will send a doctor to help them. It's important the congregation know this was Gabriel's doing, and not some church from the U.S.

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