By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
ALEXANDRIA – The vision to build an orphanage and church planting center in Haiti is closer to becoming reality, after a deal was finalized to purchase land for the proposed campus.
“I am exhilarated that we have reached this stage,” said Wayne Sheppard, executive assistant to the executive director, and partnership missions strategist for Louisiana Baptists. “This process has been long, but it is all according to His timing. The Lord has directed each step, and we have watched Him grant a secure footing with amazing opportunity. Louisiana Baptists are focused on raising up Daniels and Esthers in Haiti and on planting churches to help win thousands to Jesus Christ.”
Sheppard traveled to the country in early March to sign papers for the 3.1 acres of land.
The next step is building a deep-water well and a wall that will surround the property – projects Sheppard expects to be completed sometime in the spring.
“The well will not only provide water for the children at the facility but also will allow others from the community to get water too,” Sheppard said. “In Haiti, having good, healthy drinking water is a premium. Providing pure healthy water will allow the opportunity for many to experience the Living Water.”
Once funds are raised, construction on the children’s village can begin, and he hopes to break ground for that phase no later than the fall.
The Haiti project is an effort sponsored by the Haitian Baptist Convention, 30 Louisiana Baptist churches and the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home.
Haiti was devastated by a Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Louisiana Baptists were among the first to provide disaster relief soon after the earthquake and that effort has continued through the ministry center partnership, including: construction projects, pastor training, medical clinics, evangelism and children’s Bible clubs (Vacation Bible School).
The hope is to build a housing community next, followed with the development of micro businesses and trade schools. As the project expands, there is a plan to construct a hotel, operated by Haitians, and a school for educating the children.
Church plants will be a pivotal part of the work, and this ministry center will be the base from which Louisiana Baptists partner with Haitian believers to reach all of Haiti by starting churches.
Ron and Alana Greenwich, retired missionaries currently residing in Minden, have been hired to take a major leadership role in this work. They will coordinate mission trips, build awareness among Louisiana Baptists, help with fundraising, and oversee the development of the children’s village.
If you would like to contribute financially to the project, make donations to “Creative Ministries, LAReachHaiti” through the Louisiana Baptist Foundation (P. O. Box 311, Alexandria LA 71309).
For more information, including details about the upcoming Oct. 15-21 Haiti mission trip, contact Ron Greenwich at email@example.com.