The rise in violence in Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince, has forced more than 15,500 people to flee their homes. Houses, churches, businesses and schools have been burnt down or occupied by gangs. And then, two weeks ago, Haiti’s president was killed in an attack in his home. Marc Romyr Antoine, who leads Tearfund’s work in Haiti, shares how churches are responding to the crisis and how we can pray.
‘Tearfund works closely with the League of Pastors – a network of church leaders in Port-au-Prince. As soon as the violence escalated, they set up shelters for those who had fled, and Tearfund provided food and hygiene kits, as well as cash assistance for other essential needs,’ explains Marc.
A good shepherd
The shelters were soon overcrowded and so church leaders extended their hospitality – by opening their homes. The president of the League of Pastors, Pastor Phillippe*, welcomed 15 people into his house and has been hosting them for almost two months.
‘I have realised that God has placed me in this specific area, in this time, and in this generation for a purpose,’ shares Pastor Phillippe. ‘It is not a coincidence.
‘Sometimes the events determine your mission… I believe God wants to use me, and I want to be useful to him.’
And it doesn’t stop there.
Pathway to peace
‘We thought about what the church could do to respond to this fragile situation, realising that we don’t have all the answers. It is good to help the victims, but what about the gang members?’ says Pastor Phillippe.
The League of Pastors has nominated leaders in their churches to be trained by Tearfund in peacebuilding and conflict-resolution skills. Pastor Phillippe hopes this will lead to community dialogues with gang members and bring about healing and restoration in their communities and peace for Haiti.
‘The church continues to be a refuge and a hope to people during this crisis. But the situation remains critical. Thank you so much for your prayers – it is such a comfort to know that we have people faithfully holding us and the people we serve in prayer. It really does make a huge difference,’ concludes Marc.