Equipping and encouraging young men in Haiti as they become Christ-like leaders in their families, churches, and communities.
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Besides providing jobs, this arrangement also gives us a continued opportunity to speak into the lives of these men. Additionally, the bakery works hand in hand with the Discipleship Program.
The discipleship classes spend time working alongside the full-time staff in the bakery learning business and baking skills while also having an opportunity to practice Christian character in the workplace.
Some bakery stats:
- The bakery has been in operation since November, 2013
- Provides employment to about 12 men (some full-time and others part-time)
- Uses over 500 pounds of flour daily
- Is open from 8am – 8pm
- Located at Kafou Marassa in Port-au Prince
Three of the guys in the bakery/discipleship program made decisions to follow Christ with their lives (Richemond, Wilson, and Manno). As a result, they wanted to get baptized.
Someone from a nearby orphanage came by our bakery last week giving us a paper asking if we could please give them some free bread for their Christmas meal with the kids. That sounded like a worthwihle cause, so on Christmas Eve I purchased six platters of rolls (about 300) to donate to this orphanage for the kids dinner on Christmas day. I asked Bilhah, our secretary and cashier, to call the number for the orphanage (given on the paper) to let them know we would donate. I also requested we verify where the orphanage was located so we could easily find them. A little later, I asked Bilhah if she had called the orphanage yet? She told me she couldn’t get ahold of them by phone, but Wilson (one of the men in our program) knew where the orphanage was and could deliver it no problem. Sounded like a good plan to me.
One reason shopping can be difficult here is that many stores simply do not have change. Restaurants either. Roadside stands are the same way. Even Deli Mart, a semi-nice grocery chain, frequently does not have small change. Woe to the customer who doesn’t have exact bills. How many times have I given a 1,000 Goude spot to a cashier (about $25 US) and had them groan or roll their eyes or simply look at me as if I were a snake and sputter, “Nou pa gen monnen!” (We don’t have change!) Now that I’m overseeing a business in Haiti (a bakery), I’ve decided a hallmark of our business will be always having change on hand. However, I’ve found that isn’t an exactly easy goal to fulfill. First I have to find change myself. My initial plan of attack was to delegate this task. I assigned one of the Haitian workers to go find small change for me. They would come back with a few coins after having begged them off random street vendors. It was like Noah sending out the doves, they only came back with little twigs, when I was expecting them to come back with fresh rolls of coins wrapped in cardboard tubes.
Ten young men made up the first group of guys for Heartline’s Discipleship Program. All of them were in their 20’s and, except for one, were also single. The backgrounds of these men varied from being raised in a Christian home to being converted out of a situation where both parents worked as Voodoo practitioners! All of them were professing Christians and desirous of growing in their walk with the Lord. The first months of the program are mainly spent in an intensive Bible study while the bakery work gives the guys practical hands-on experience in practicing Christian work ethics and integrity within the workplace. A regular day begins at the Heartline property at 6am with a brief time of devotions. Each morning a different man in the program shares a devotion. The men then sing a song and pray together. Each day both breakfast and lunch are served and the work time in the bakery ends at noon. In the early afternoon there is an additional time of studying the Bible. Because the bakery is open until 7pm, those who wish to work extra hours are paid accordingly.