Revival: A New Haiti Rising from the Rubble?

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - He is barely five feet tall but when he speaks people listen.

A large crowd gathered at Mission Evangelical Baptist Church to hear Haiti's most well known evangelical leader. Pastor Chavannes Jeune's message this morning: repent and prepare for revival.

"We have an opportunity here to come together and serve the people," Pastor Jeune said.

"It is time for repentance, it is time for confession, and it is time for revival," he said. "God is calling the church to put aside its differences and to unite in solidarity so that we can speak with one voice to the country."

Rebuilding a City

Jeune unsuccessfully ran for president of Haiti in the last election and plans to run again. For now, he is focused on rebuilding his destroyed city.

"What has been the impact of the earthquake on the church in Haiti?" CBN News asked him.

"Many churches have been destroyed, many pastors are dead, many top Christian political and business leaders have also lost their lives," he said. "The impact has been devastating, yet we see signs of hope springing up."

On the streets and in the tent cities, Haitians are turning to God in unprecedented numbers.

"In the past, before the earthquake, this would never happen, right?" CBN News asked.

"No, it wouldn't. People are vulnerable," Jeune replied. "They have seen and experienced a lot: 200,000-plus are dead.  Tens of thousands are injured. Those who survived are thanking God and realizing that they have to take their faith more seriously."

Building Bridges

Herode Guilomettre, a prominent Christian business leader, has seen dramatic changes in how leaders of different denominations are relating to one another since the earthquake.

"We have a new solidarity that was never there before," he said. "Even among leaders from other countries. For example, there was tension between Haitian and Dominican Republic leaders. Now we are working together to help those who are suffering."

But the most profound change is happening in the makeshift camps.  

"There's a kind of spiritual transformation unfolding," Guilomettre explained. "In the entire tent camps and shelters people are spontaneously worshipping God, they are singing, they are praying. And this has been happening almost every night since the earthquake. It seems like this is part of a spiritual revival."

Guilomettre is just one of many Haitian Christian businessmen who has opened his home and wallet to care for the suffering. With the help of friends from America, Guilomettre is running this clinic on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince.

"The message of the church to our hurting nation is that God is able to take care of us and He is rebuilding a new Haiti," he said.

A New Haiti

It starts with providing those made homeless by the earthquake with a temporary place to stay. So Jeune and pastors from 20 churches are putting their resources together to erect 100 shelters outside the city that will house 100 families each.

"The shelters will provide families with food, medical care and spiritual counseling," he said. "Then after three months, we'll begin the next phase, which will be reconstruction.  We are working with Christian NGO's and friends around the world to begin rebuilding people's homes."

It's one small step to get this nation back on its feet.

*Originally published January 28, 2010. 

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Haiti Earthquake & Recovery

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CBN News
George Thomas

George Thomas

CBN News Sr. Correspondent

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