Haiti Project

Saint Matthew Haiti Project

The Saint Matthew community sponsors a Haiti Twinning Project to help the parishes in the Village of Bois de Lance, Haiti. We have a large group of parishioners focusing on a School Friendship Program and fundraising for special needs for the people and priest of the village. We also organize mission trips of service to the area. Contact David Siler at 317-845-0094 or Jan Baele at 317-257-9145 for more information. Below are more details on our efforts.

Watch this updated video on our Haiti project:

 

 2017 End-of-Year Haiti Mission Update–God Stories in Haiti: As we reflect on the past year’s mission work in Haiti, it strikes us how many times God has been so clearly at work. We want to share some of these miracles with the parish as a thank you for all of you have contributed to this mission in some way.  We want to begin by sharing a quote from Sam White, a current Chatard senior, who went on the last mission along with his parents, parishioners Dan and Juleen White. Sam said, “I enjoyed our trip to Haiti.  It was a great learning experience that changed my life for the better.”

This mission began 4 short years ago, and during that time we have been able to provide and/or support our sister parish in Bois de Lance, Haiti, with the following:

  • all teacher/support staff salaries for two schools
  • reliable and safe transportation for Pere Max
  • a garden
  • the construction of a new rectory that is near completion
  • clean drinking water
  • health and medical care
  • most recently a full shipment of furnishings and other supplies to outfit the new rectory
  • Christ the King has now joined us. They have been raising money and holding food drives to ensure all the school children have nutritious meals during the school day.

With hurricanes and other hardships, this work has not been without challenges, but every time there seemed to be an obstacle or concern, prayers were answered.  This is what we want to share:

  • When a new well for water in the rectory was needed, a mission team member ran into someone in Haiti who specialized in this and agreed to dig a well – for FREE!
  • We needed some expertise and eyes on our projects to ensure quality and efficiency. Another mission team member met “Matt” in Haiti who continues to be our “boots on the ground” and essentially the project coordinator in many ways for the building of the rectory and other building/infrastructure efforts.
  • When food recently became an urgent need, and we were not yet able to ship food, Food for the Poor showed up with enough food for 7 months.
  • Nutritious food is an ongoing need that we were not sure our parish could support along with our other efforts. Christ the King stepped up wholeheartedly to help fill this need.
  • Jan Baele knew we could get items here in the U.S. at a greatly reduced cost and much higher quality compared to Haiti, but shipping cost was an obstacle. Wonderful, generous donors provided both an enormous shipping container as well as a trailer to house items collected.
  • A chance encounter and conversation with a fellow parishioner led Jan to contact St. Joe’s College about the sale of the furnishings at the school.  The sale had ended, but she called anyway. The result was her driving up and returning with a trailer filled with a number of items at 50% off, including a dining table and chairs, printers, 5 sets of bunkbeds, 15 mattresses (which they gave her for free), dressers, and more!!!
  • There were concerns about customs charges in Haiti, but Food for the Poor has agreed to accept the container in the Cap Haitien Port, so there will be no charge.

Prayer after prayer continues to be answered, but what the above does not include are the countless stories of hope and personal connections being made between our community and the communities in Haiti and now with the Christ the King Community. This quote from a t-shirt seen during the last mission trip seems to be a good way to end this, along with a thank you to all of you:

He is and has always been in Haiti

We didn’t bring him here

We get to meet him here

Jesus is in Haiti

 God Bless–St. Matthew Haiti Committee

 

Fall 2017 Update: “Every time we see your faces here it gives us hope.” This is a quote from a Haitian teacher upon the arrival of the St. Matthew mission team in June. We hope you agree that this quote truly says it all. As reported in our last communication, we are so grateful to have Christ the King Parish join Saint Matthew in this mission by providing nutritious meals for the students during the day. In addition to our school sponsorship, the June team is happy to report wonderful progress on the rectory with the completion of the inside walls. This project has had an added benefit of employing some local workers. Empowering and working with the Haitian community is an important consideration in our mission, and with this in mind two other projects were a focus of this trip: expanding sewing skills and building chicken coops so the community might begin to have a sustainable and nutritious food source. Perhaps even more important than the projects are the relationships that continue to form between our community and theirs. A number of our own youth were able to attend the summer mission trip, and the school children adored their time with them and vice versa. The final night reflected the joy of the relationships formed as everyone attended a dance party reported to be a highlight that will become a tradition. May each of you be blessed for your continued prayers and support of this mission. See some photos below from the June 2017 trip.

haiti june pix

Spring 2017 Update: Our Saint Matthew community has once again demonstrated its generous heart by fully funding the two Haitian schools we sponsor through the remainder of this school year. Our Saint Matthew School students have shown the same generous spirit. In particular, over this past school year a number of our Saint Matthew first graders decided that, in lieu of gifts for their birthdays, that their friends instead make a donation to the Haiti School Sponsorship Program. As often is the case, our children inspire us, and this has led to plans to continue to grow connections between Saint Matthew School and the schools we sponsor in Haiti. In addition, we are pleased to announce that Christ the King Parish has recently decided to join Saint Matthew in this mission and will be focusing on providing food for the students in both Haitian schools. We look forward to seeing how all of this continues to grow and take seed in our schools and our communities.

We are also excited to share that the new rectory has been under construction, and it appears that it may be completed as early as this fall. Pere Max has shared that this project has had the added benefit of creating jobs for more than 15 people, including 2 local workers. He further mentioned that they are looking to add additional seating to the church because weekly services are standing-room only. What a wonderful issue to need to address!

Our next group of 10 wonderful missionaries will be headed back to Haiti from June 3-June 10, and our First Saturday Happy Hour in June will be hosted by our Haiti Committee. Please plan to come and raise a glass of Haitian beer to our missionaries in fellowship with one another the first Saturday in June!

Watch the school children at our sister parish in Haiti sing to our visiting parishioners:

 

Read September 2016 Haiti Mission Newsletter.

 

See posts about the fall 2016 Haiti trip here and here.

 

Here are some photos for the fall 2016 mission trip to Haiti:Publication1

 

 

Pere Max, the pastor of the Saint Matthew twinning parish in Bois de Lance, Haiti, visited us in April 2016. At all the Masses, he thanked parishioners for their support of the Haiti School Friendship Program and then attended “Sample Saint Matthew.” Pere Max also met with our students to describe life in Haiti and how important our support is to his community. Pere Max even played soccer during PE with the 7th graders and ate lunch with the 4th graders. Thank you to everyone who planned, assisted in, and participated in Pere Max’s first visit to Saint Matthew. 


indy visit

 

Read about a 2015 Haiti visit.

 

Read the Haiti blog about a 2014 trip.

 

In the video here, Pere Max, pastor of our twinning parishes, thanks Saint Matthew parishioners for their prayers and support:

children

The children in Haiti say thank you to our parish.

Above: The rectory is under construction.

Top left: Pere Max celebrates Mass at Jede. Top right: our parishioner Jan Baele speaks to students. Bottom left: Our parishioner Dave Siler with Pere’s new truck. Bottom right: Holes in the roof at the open-air church in Jede.

Top left: Our parishioner Bob Kowal with Haitian school children. Bottom left: Haitian school principals with our parishioners Dave Siler, Bob Kowal, and Jan Baele. Right: Little girls dressed in Sunday best.

Left: View of the major city of Cap Haiten. Right: Beauty of the Haitian countryside.

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