Haiti Revival: Quake Survivors Inspired by TV Show

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti - As thousands of Haitians struggle to rebuild their lives, a unique television program is giving them a sense of hope.

The show, titled "La Bonne Nouvelle," is part travelogue, part food show, a sprinkle of spiritual counsel and a lot of encouragement. Haiti for Christ founder Joel Trimble has offered the diverse television experience to the country for about six years.

"I love Haiti. I love the Haitian people, and I love ministering the gospel to them," Trimble said. "So my thought was I want to go where the people are, and I want to show them the beauty of their nation."

La Bonne Nouvelle has built a strong audience around Haiti and in Haitian communities overseas. The most popular feature is its food segment.

"And they really love to watch my reaction as a white person speaking their language eating their food -- really enjoying it, as I really do enjoy it," Trimble added.

The program takes viewers to a different part of the country every week, giving Haitians an antidote to all the bad news about their country.

"The positive story behind something taking place in the country and we focus on that. We do a documentary, something like a Travel Channel type of format, and then in the middle of it I do what we call a 'counsel for life,'" Trimble said, explaining the show's format.

He counseled parents in one recent production about the importance of investing in the lives of their children.

Typically, while Trimble's in town he'll show a Christian film and invite people to follow Christ. And in a nation that's struggled for generations to free itself from poverty, Trimble's messages are well received.

"We're able bring the gospel into the living rooms and homes of Haitian people in a practical way, and make them not only feel good about their own country and about themselves, but to let them understand the principles of God," Trimble said.

Haitians are more receptive to this teaching since the devastating earthquake in January 2010. No one knows how many died in the disaster, but estimates go as high as 200,000. For the past year the world has focused on the needs of the survivors.

The government estimates that 1 million Haitians lost their homes in the earthquake. They sought refuge in many tent cities, set up with international help all around Port au Prince. Life is hard in thes camps, but it's also there that many Haitians are finding hope for the future.

They are still flocking to church services throughout the capital. Trimble says it's evidence of a growing spiritual revival.

"We would have never imagined that revival would come in the form of a disaster. But that's what has happened down here," he said. "People have been saying for years that Haiti would be a great example if it turned around. I can honestly say we're not just at the beginning of a transformation of a nation, but we're seeing it take place before our very eyes."

Trimble came to Haiti as a missionary in 1975. He and his wife Yvonne have helped plant numerous churches, including one known as the "Church of the Final Hour." The church building collapsed during the earthquake, but since then some 500 new congregants have started attending their worship services.

"It's amazing. I can't believe it," said Pastor Ernes Joseph. "This is the answer to a prophecy that God has given to us. He said once that this church is going to spread the gospel out. And this is just the beginning."

On the first anniversary of the earthquake last January, Trimble organized a rally in front of the ruined national palace. The event drew more than 100,000 Haitians.

"We called it 'Celebrate Life,'" Trimble said. "Instead of having a memorial service and inviting people to come, we decided we were going to celebrate life in Jesus, for those of us who were spared."

Trimble says the opportunities for sharing the good news in Haiti are greater now than ever before. He believes he is helping build a new foundation of Christianity that will bring God's blessings to Haiti.

"It will bring political leaders of integrity and honesty. It will bring husbands that are being faithful to their wives. It'll bring government employees that can be trusted to handle aid funds that come into the country," Trimble added.

And they are all desperately needed changes in post-earthquake Haiti.

Related Link:

Haiti for Christ

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CBN News
Stan Jeter

Stan Jeter

CBN News Senior Producer

CBN News Senior Producer Stan Jeter specializes in Christian news and Latin American coverage.  He has lived and worked for many years in South and Central America, most recently developing the Spanish Christian news program, Mundo Cristiano.  Follow Stan on Twitter @StanJeterNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/StanJeterCBN.