In a 2011 trip to Haiti, Haitian Pastor Paul Touloute (Vice President of the Lutheran Church of Haiti) took us on a 4 hour drive up into the hills. At the end of that drive we walked another half mile further and arrived at the hamlet of Lestage where we spent the next hours with the pastors of the Lutheran church there. And that church; it wasn't much larger than your average shed. And more to the point, it was even then in a state of major disrepair.
In the first months of 2013, we made a return trip to Lestage. This time, five of us - from two different churches - stayed with the people and pastors of Lestage for a full week. It was a week of mutual encouragement. It was a week of growing love and trust. It was a week in which we explored with them the possibility to aid in the construction of a new church.
Then, in January of 2015, our friends from our partner church - St. Paul, Caro, MI - made a trip, and celebrated a groundbreaking. And today? Today construction continues and it looks magnificent.
Where do things go from here? We have another team of 11 folks headed to Lestage in the very first part of 2017. The team is made up of folks from New Hope, St. Paul, and another LCMS congregation here in the Grand Rapids area. Together we will go to encourage the people of Lestage, check in on construction progress, join them in worship, lead training, explore the possibilities of a medical mission in the future, and explore the possibility of connecting new churches to the saints in Sejourné. We'll keep you posted!