Ministering with the ‘least of these’ in Haiti – prisoners, vulnerable children, and the elderly.
Discipleship & Community Outreach
The team ministers with lonely prisoners, children with disabilities, children living in extreme material poverty, and elderly Haitians. Outreach ministry includes sharing bread baked at the Heartline bakery, evangelism, worship and prayer, and developing personal relationships to communicate love and the dignity of each person.
Through word and deed, the Heartline team lavishes love on each beloved child and adult made in the image of God, communicating that they are not forgotten or worthless, but have unsurpassable worth to God.
There is a conspicuous need for prison outreach ministry in Port au Prince. Haiti’s penal system is the most congested of any country in the world, with a formidable 454% occupancy level. Most incarcerated Haitians have not been convicted of a crime, but are imprisoned during lengthy pretrial detention, frequently for many years. Due to severe overcrowding and malnutrition-related illnesses and other preventable diseases, many Haitians die in prison while waiting to see a judge.
The Heartline Outreach and Discipleship team is grateful to minister at a prison for juvenile boys and a women’s prison each week. Delivering bread to share with both prisoners and prison guards opens the door to sharing the Gospel with physically and spiritually hungry prisoners through worship, prayer, teaching, and mentoring.
Children with Disabilities
Children with disabilities in Haiti are acutely vulnerable. Families often face stigma and ridicule as a result of having a child with disabilities due to the widespread belief that disability is a curse from evil spirits. Parents frequently relinquish children with disabilities to orphanages or hide them away at home, excluding them from participating in school and other community life. Set against the backdrop of widespread material poverty, children with disabilities face tremendous hardship, misunderstanding, and failure to thrive.
The Heartline Outreach and Discipleship team is grateful to minister with Mephibosheth House that cares for children with developmental disabilities. Every week, the Heartline team delivers bread and other food, and spends several hours worshipping, praying, and playing with the children.
The Heartline Outreach and Discipleship team ministers with approximately 200 children living in extreme material poverty every Sunday afternoon. Kid’s Club includes a meal, worship, a message from the Bible, and play! Many of the children do not attend school and have families unable to provide for their basic needs. They look forward to Kid’s Club each week for the food, loving relationships, singing, and opportunity to hear about God’s love.
The Heartline Beltis Bakery provides jobs and vocational training to previously unemployed men. Utilizing over 500 pounds of flour daily to make delicious bread and pizza, the Heartline Bakery is open six days a week, selling baked goods to the wider community and supplying bread for all of Heartline’s Outreach and Discipleship ministries.
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
The Men’s Ministry provides relationship-based outreach and bread baked at the Heartline Beltis Bakery to area prisons, hospitals, and an orphanage for children with disabilities. They endeavor to extend love where there is loneliness, feed hungry people, and stand in solidarity with the hurting. We hope to give you a glimpse into what a week of ministry looks like for this dedicated group by sharing some of their recent activities. Thank you for lifting up men in Haiti and they follow Jesus and serve some of the most marginalized members of their community.
Every day, Vanessa’s life reflects her deep sense of purpose – to love God and love others. She is a woman who views others through Jesus’ eyes, truly seeing each individual’s worth and accepting them exactly as they are. Vanessa is quick to extend compassion, flash a bright smile, and sit and listen. She loves and serves with boldness and humility. In the wake of the catastrophic earthquake that hit Haiti in January 2010, Vanessa found herself looking for a way to support her young son, mother, and siblings. As the sole income-earner in the family, Vanessa’s mother struggled to provide for their needs. Many days the family went without food. Vanessa’s brother battled mental illness and addiction and the family strained under the enormous weight of it all. At the moment when she felt the most beat down, Vanessa made a decision to rise. She was determined to help her mother carry the load of providing for the family. She was determined to restore hope and transform the future for herself, her loved ones, and her community.
Each week, Heartline’s outreach team has the great honor of visiting a local orphanage where children with disabilities live. They worship, pray, and share bread baked at Heartline’s Beltis Bakery with the children and staff. In February, the Men’s Ministry group and students from the Women’s Education Center cosmetology class joined together to shower the children with extra love and tender care. They volunteered to wash the children, cut and braid their hair, and provide manicures and pedicures. As the day’s activities got underway, the orphanage overflowed with laughter and excitement. The children enthusiastically sang, worshipped, and prayed.