Pinnacle Presbyterian Church

Haiti Initiative

Dedication of New Church

What a wonderful, spiritual, uplifting, and glorious event the dedication service was at Harmony Ministries in Port-au-Prince! We really didn’t know what to expect in terms of either what the finished church would look like OR what the dedication service would include, but our expectations were greatly exceeded.

The church is fully completed, and painted inside and out. The finishes, electrical, lighting, flooring, benches and decorative touches are all amazing. It’s very bright (both the Caribbean colors and the outside light that comes in) and airy, and there are many nice design features. The benches, much to our surprise, aren’t just benches — they’re beautiful pews with book racks, communion cup holders, and open backs so they’re cooler and air can circulate. The baptismal pool is raised and behind the chancel area, with glass in front so people can see the immersion. There’s a glass block window and an inset wooden cross above the baptismal pool.

We toured the church Friday afternoon and were amazed, but we were even more stunned on Sunday morning when we walked in. There were floral bouquets on every column and many other places, balloons, banners, high quality sound equipment, a projector and wall-mounted screen with a running slide show,  a place where the band is set up, and professional video equipment to video the service (or part of it — it was almost 4 hours long). There were about 1,000 people who came to the service, including delegations from LaSalle (they would have had to start at 4 a.m. down the dark mountain road to get there), Leogane (2 1/2 hours) and Thoman (2+ hours).  All of the church leaders from all locations were there. All of the people were dressed up and looking crisp and clean — even those who had traveled for hours to get there.  The US delegations included folks from Arizona, New Jersey, Maryland and Maine.  Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts helped with seating and carried in flags.  

Each of the US delegations was given a plaque recognizing our support. We appreciated that, but we were even more humbled and joyful to see the huge number of Harmony Ministries people who were recognized for their work and leadership—pastors, elders, program leaders, etc. A lot of people (including Ronide, Pastor Luc’s wife) did a lot of work to get the church built and to put together a long, detailed, polished and wonderful celebration. There were many speakers. The combined PAP choirs sang the Hallelujah Chorus magnificently; it definitely brought tears to our eyes. There were wonderful and talented soloists, and Pastor Luc’s children played a viola duet. Each of the US visiting pastors spoke briefly, and everyone sang -- of course. They know how to worship; they know how to celebrate; they know how to give thanks to God in Haiti. Remember, too, that this church rose up from the rubble that had buried several of their members; this congregation had lost many neighbors and friends. So that sadness and difficulty was acknowledged as well as God’s blessing in the recovery and rebuilding.

It was a truly remarkable religious experience that we were blessed to share. The meaning and impact of PPC’s support is clearer than ever, and we were also really happy to see how much “structure” or people support there is behind Pastor Luc. It’s an amazing ministry.

What is Pinnacle's Mission in Haiti?

by: Dr. Jim Callison
Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. The resources have been devastated, the government is in turmoil and corruption is rampant. Many people say there is no hope for Haiti.

So it may be for the “nation” of Haiti.  But our Mission is to the people in Haiti. And the people in Haiti are just like us. They may not have the financial, educational, medical or environmental resources that we at PPC have but they are our Christian brothers. They worship God, create “meeting tents”, build churches, support their neighbors and spread the word of Jesus Christ. And they do indeed have and demonstrate “HOPE”!

Those of us, who as your representatives have had the good fortune to experience all that they do with their little resources, were very moved. Their joy, their devotion, their refuge in the church is inspirational. We wish everyone at PPC could experience that.

Still you should feel the joy knowing that we at PPC are supporting these Christian brothers and sisters by giving some of what we have. Food, clothing, medicine, funding for schools and rebuilding of churches is practicing what Jesus taught us: “feed the hungry, clothe the poor and take care of the sick, for whatever you do for one of these, my brothers, you do it for me.” We are brothers and sisters in the One Church, the One Body of Christ.

Harmony Ministries Fast Facts

Did you know … ?

  •  … this Easter Pastor Luc will baptize over 50 adults, as he does every Easter.  His most important work – spreading the good news of the Gospel – continues with our help.
  •  … last year Harmony Ministries opened a new school in the remote mountainous area of LaSalle.  In its first year the school had 73 registered students; this year there are 138! 
  •  … a child who lost an arm in the earthquake is able to attend school in Port-au-Prince without cost because of support from churches like PPC. 
  •  … many OTC and prescription medicines are purchased for the Harmony Ministries clinic in Port-au-Prince with PPC support, giving the doctor there the ability to treat patients and provide relief to those who couldn’t otherwise afford care.
  • … PPC received detailed accounting statements from Pastor Luc for all construction monies sent to Harmony Ministries for the new church – covering everything from tons of rebar to bags of cement to boxes of nails.  Reporting on use of funds was provided to our Presbytery, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, and PPC’s Session.  The church is almost complete.

With our “hands on” support of Harmony Ministries, funds are used exactly as we direct after consultation with Pastor Luc.  When we send mission teams we can see the benefit of our donations, whether in dollars or the many supplies collected – from colored pencils to music instruments to medicines. 

Pastor Luc is grateful for our gifts and ever mindful of maintaining the trust with Harmony’s supporters.

Dancing with the Children

The Psalmist speaks “Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples.” I did not know the true meaning of this verse until we traveled to Haiti. When God calls you to “Go” you know there is no turning back. His summons comes without confusion and escorts you to an intentional place in your life and in His plan. It was truly life changing for me. We were somewhat prepared as to what to expect but we didn’t know the emotions we would feel, actually being with the people, especially the children. Riding through the streets of Port-au-Prince was traumatic – brokenness, rubble, destruction. Your heart breaks faster than your mind can process. New perspective crowds out old thinking and through the lenses of this world, you see your own in staggering contrast. What you are experiencing begins to reset the mold for how you think and will choose to live from this point forward. Amidst all of the ruin, I saw resilience, determination, and hope in the beautiful Haitian people. They were welcoming, loving and joyfully praising God. God is at work! His love and mercy can be readily seen in many ways.

Medical clinics were established at each site where we presented music. People waited for hours just to see one of the doctors. I don’t think I will ever forget the faces of those who sat waiting with their children hoping to receive medicine and a positive diagnosis for their family. It was a sea of people sitting in the ninety-five degree temperature just hoping for some encouraging word. A few times I lost it and I had to let the tears flow.

The children we sang with were filled with joy. Their faces were expressive, their body rhythm was overwhelming – they truly warmed our hearts with their love of Jesus. At times, I thought that they were amazed to see a white person dance as we did! The audience of interested village people that collected outside of our musical arena also seemed to sense the joy that was being expressed through our universal language.

Each night our team gathered, shared unforgettable moments of the day and prayed. Each time we did, someone asked God to let us be the hands and feet of Jesus. Those same words left my lips and as soon as they did I was overwhelmed by the weight of them. Because I had spoken them, I activated the possibility of what would happen when the request was granted. While we were each at different places sorting through the emotions and putting it all together, God was carefully at work completing the small details of His bigger story.

The action of one in the body impacts many. Our team was tiny in number but mighty in heart. We worked in harmony with gratitude and praise. What difference can God make with so few who are totally connected with one mind and heart? What difference can you make when you are connected to the mind and heart of God. During the week in Haiti, we learned.  So much is possible. If you feel God calling you, I encourage you to sign up for a future mission trip. Don’t miss this part of God’s plan.

“If you have a can have hope.  If you have hope...
you have the tools that can bring you to a better tomorrow.
These tools have the power to bring you out of all despair.  
Now keep your head up...Because Anything Is Possible.” 

(from Hearts for Haiti: Book of Poetry & Inspiration by Timothy Pina)

Reflections of Haiti

by: Stephanie Webster
So much of the Haiti mission trip is the planning and organizing. PPC members are so generous! Our group was able to fill over 20 donated duffle bags and cases with school supplies, medical and hygiene supplies and musical instruments. The bags had to be packed, weighed, labeled, numbered and tagged.

We each checked two of the bags and carried on board our own small bags. We landed in Miami and had to retrieve all the bags for a short overnight. The next morning we checked the bags to Haiti. Pastor Luc and men from his church met us and helped us through customs and into a van for the hotel.

We spent many hours over several days putting together hundreds of hygiene kits consisting of hand towels, bar soap, toothbrush and toothpaste in ziplock bags. Then these were counted and put in duffles for distribution to whatever site we were going to that day.

On our first day we had 10 bags to bring to Thoman. It is a small mountain village and the school is behind the small church. We worked with the children with art supplies and music instruments, and the medical people on the team set up a “clinic” and went all day. As Dr. John Mattox so aptly stated, “I began to understand it wasn’t about arcane diagnoses or the number of procedures performed, but my ability to incorporate the humanism often lacking in today’s medical practice. The laying on of hands, conveying we are all God’s children and all deserving of dignity and respect was the medical care.”  Amen.

The children are so vibrant and happy, and they wear crisp, clean, ironed uniforms. Without electricity and water in many places, we remain baffled as to how they do this. At the Sunday church service under the tent in Port-au-Prince, men wear ties and jackets, and their shoes are polished! Children sit quietly.

When driving through the streets of Port-au-Prince, there are people everywhere. There is action, there is noise, there are bad roads and tap-taps overloaded with people. (A tap-tap is a small truck with seats in the back that is the primary means of public transportation.) People sell things on the streets. The huge marketplace is teeming with people, smells, garbage, noise, action.

One of the prayers Carl Richie passed out was, “God of the City, your spirit moves through the crowded streets and honking horns. It weaves through the paint of a tap-tap and the basket of a hopeful entrepreneur sitting on a curb. It moves through the quiet alleys and busy intersections. It enters the small rusty tin-roofed home, a tent, a roaring market. May it also move through me as I experience Port-au-Prince, dear God.  Amen.”

On another day the prayer was, “Thank you for each face I will look into today, for that face has a story and has value.” How true. When we sat at church under the tent, I looked out at all the faces. The people let the music become a part of them. Their spirit moved all of us.  What has always amazed me is that the people have so little, yet they are cheerful. The children in school sit squeezed in on narrow benches with only a chalk board in the room, yet they smile and laugh and are happy.

I think we stayed true to our mission of connecting with and broadening our support for the work of Pastor Luc and Harmony Ministries.