Since receiving our call to serve in Haiti and beginning this journey with World Concern, I have been looking for the perfect elevator speech. Do you know what I mean by elevator speech? We often get asked, “So what exactly will you be doing in Haiti?” If I am not careful, I can let my passion and excitement get in the way and pretty soon I realize I have been talking for ten minutes straight! An elevator speech is just that. A quick look at how we will be serving in Haiti that can be shared with anyone I meet in an elevator. Well, here is my attempt at giving you the ‘quick look’ of what God has called us to do in Haiti.
1) Serve the poor
Martha and I will be working alongside our Haitian colleagues to meet the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable in Haiti. World Concern excels at providing relief in areas not serviced by other agencies. As an organization, we go to the hard and remote places in rural Haiti. We believe God desires for all things and people to be redeemed to Him, including those affected by physical poverty. Our skills in communication will help World Concern’s transformational work in Haiti continue. In a recent blog post, I talk about the power clean water can have in meeting the needs of a community. I hope you will check it out!
2) Communicate stories of hope and transformation
Martha and I are honored to be given the task of telling individual’s and community’s stories of transformation. The poor are often neglected and oppressed in society. We seek to offer an avenue for those who have experienced poverty, to share about their journey. Our hope is that the stories we collect will serve as an encouragement to those inside and outside of Haiti. Additionally, Martha and I hope to spur on individuals and churches in North America and beyond, to become involved in partnering with World Concern to alleviate poverty in Haiti. The story of the community of Lavanneau is one in particular that accurately captures the transforming work that we get to be a part of.
I (Austin) will also be assisting the local staff in areas of grant writing and preparing project reports. This writing and administration assistance will be a huge help to our staff in Haiti.
3) Move the staff and those we serve closer to Jesus
Martha and I are committed to speaking truth and providing spiritual encouragement to those we meet in Haiti. We will have wonderful opportunities to especially connect with the World Concern Haiti staff. Each week we as a staff come together in the office for a time of devotion and study in scripture. Outside of this structured time, we will be focusing on building relationships with the staff members and those we serve.
While attending a cross-cultural training course at Mission Training International, we were reminded of how our love for one another is our greatest ministry. In the book of John Jesus reminded us of this truth; “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Our colleagues and those we serve will be watching how Martha and I treat one another, and therefore we see huge potential for ministry in this area.
We want to equip individuals and communities with the skills to move out of physical poverty, however we also desire to see people come to know the freedom found in Jesus.
Thank you for giving me a few minutes (okay, it might have taken longer than an elevator ride to read through this, it’s a work in progress)! I hope you walk away with a better understanding of the role Martha and I will be playing on our team in Haiti. We have developed such a love for Haiti. I hope you can sense our heart for the people in this lovely country.
If you would like to be a part of serving the poor in Haiti through our work with World Concern, we would encourage you to become a monthly partner. This means committing to financially support us each month for the next two years, and to pray for us on a regular basis. If you feel led, you may sign up to become a monthly partner on World Concern’s website here.