“In the midst of suffering and difficulty Haiti is full of faithful, hopeful people. The New York Haiti Project seeks to build bonds of affection between rural Haiti and New York through the Episcopal Church. The people of Martel, Haiti have asked us to help them build a school and a church for their community. They are actively working to transform their community, and we are being transformed too.” – Father Sam Owen
In July of 2017, I was fortunate to go on a trip with The New York Haiti Project to visit Martel, Haiti. We were on a mission to assist the people in building a new school and church and to deepen our relationship between the Diocese of New York and the Episcopal Church in Haiti.
Eleven participants from eleven different Episcopal Churches in New York ventured out to experience Haitian community, to pray, worship and be with the people of Haiti. The experience was eye opening and transformative. In the short time that we were there we saw, heard, and sang with the spirited people of Martel and felt the Holy Spirit at work in the community surrounding us and in ourselves. The projects we were there to visit were underway, but not yet complete. It took patience with ourselves and others to accept that not everything would happen on our expected time-table.
In the few months, since our visit, St. Luke’s Episcopal School in Martel has opened in a temporary building, while the permanent building is being built nearby. It is exciting to share the news of the opening of a grain mill that will help support the school financially, and provide employment and commerce for the community. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church also began worshipping in Martel this year, and the community is growing in Christian love and service.
It is a joy to be back in New York and to share my lessons from Haiti. I learned that the Haitian culture is rich in love, kindness and faith. I learned that going to visit the people our Diocese seeks to serve means being in relationship with real people, in real time, doing ministry together with, not for others. It takes patience and building personal relationships. And it is good to be a part of in a real way.
As a part of the New York Haiti Project, I ask your continued prayers for the people of Martel and for our partnership with them. We particularly ask your prayers and participation as we seek funding to finish the permanent school and church building.
Click here to Like The New York Haiti Project on Facebook, and click here to learn more about ways you can help.
Interested in visiting Haiti or helping in another way? Connect with Father Sam Owen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel Salvato was one of two young adults supported by funds from the Young Adult Network who participated in the 2017 New York Haiti Project service trip.