On October 25, 2018 a mission team from the APA consisting of the Right Rev. David Haines (Missionary Bishop of the APA and Rector of All Saints, Wilmington, NC) and the Rev. Paul Rivard (Rector of the Church of St. George the Martyr, Simpsonville, SC) embarked on a journey to visit the APA Missionary District of the Caribbean in Haiti. The journey actually began the day before when both members of the mission team made their way to Fort Pierce, Florida by road. After spending the night in Fort Pierce, the team flew into Cap Haitien, Haiti on Missionary Flights International (MFI), which is affiliated with another of our Global Partners, Operation Mobilization. MFI has a small fleet of modified DC-3 airplanes with the cabins divided for transporting passengers and cargo. The flight went without incident and the team arrived in Cap Haitien just after ten thirty that morning. After waiting for a short time at the airport the team was met by Fr. Mews Guerrier, senior priest in Haiti and Mr. Ronel Joseph the all-important translator. The team then secured their rental vehicle for the visit from the Avis facility at the airport. The rental vehicle had dents and dings on every panel and tires that were very heavily worn both on the tread and side walls. When questioned about the tires the Avis representative said that the tires are only replaced once a year in December. After securing the vehicle the team then proceeded to exchange their American currency into the local Haitian Goud and then purchased bottled water. Once this was secure the team then drove to their hotel, Hotel Beck, to check-in and to off-load their bags. The team then stopped for lunch in down-town Cap Haitien at the Cap Deli. After lunch the team traveled to the village of Caracol where a second church, St Francis of Assisi, has recently been established. Caracol is approximately twenty miles east of Cap Haitien and is a village of fairly recent construction that was built to house refugees from the 2010 earthquake and to provide a work-force for the Industrial Park that was established by USAID and the South Koreans in a joint venture. The village is made up of seven hundred and fifty colorfully painted three and four roomed houses each with a water tank and connected to a septic system. Unlike most parts of Haiti, the village is relatively clean with very little visible trash and without piles of smoldering garbage. The people here are proud of their village and it is well governed and managed by the local residents. The APA team drove directly to the elementary school in the center of the village where they met with local residents and the Mayors. This was also the first opportunity that members of the team had to meet the candidate for the Diaconate, Mr. Steevens Morency who lives in the village. During the course of the meeting the community leaders welcomed the APA visitors and then explained the various needs of the community. While there is both an elementary school and a high school in the community, the demand, especially at the elementary level, means that less than a third of the children can be accommodated at the current facility.  The community leaders are looking to build a second elementary school on the outskirts of the village to meet the demand in the community. They are also in need of a hospital or medical facility since the nearest hospital is in the town of Caracol approximately 6 miles away. The community leaders would also like to have a church built near the village at some point in the future. Before our arrival St. Francis of Assisi Church was meeting at the elementary school but following our meeting the community leaders offered the church the use of the Community Center building which is much larger and will easily accommodate the church. Following the meeting the group then visited the Community Center and a house that could be rented to provide accommodation for our clergy when they travel there to conduct services. Before departing from Caracol the APA team and several of the community leaders walked through the village to visit the home of Steevens Morency. Just before dark the team departed Caracol to return to Cap Haitien. The drive in the dark was challenging and nerve-wracking for the visitors but they returned safely to their hotel before 8 pm. Pictures of Day 1 The following day, Friday October 26, the team had a pleasant breakfast before departing their hotel at 9 am to travel to the school at Balan. On route to the school, the team stopped at the Parc De Repos to visit the grave of Fr. Mews’ Daughter, Faissa Guerrier, who had died in a tragic car accident a day before her twenty-first birthday almost a year ago. This was a very solemn event and the visit was very emotional for both Fr. Mews and the team. After offering a brief prayer for Fr. Mews and the family the team proceeded on to the Jacques Theodore Holly Institute in Balan. There are now eighty-five students enrolled in the school, a more than fifty percent improvement from the low of fifty-six a year ago. The increase in numbers is a result of the Haitian government rescinding its policy of free education after the election of a new Prime Minister in July, 2018. It is expected that the numbers will continue to grow as the incentive of parents to send their children to schools out of the area has now been eliminated. Previously the school had accommodated two hundred and fifty-six children from kindergarten through the sixth grade. The team then visited each of the classrooms and met with the teachers and pupils in each class. Fr. Mews also discussed the serious condition regarding bathrooms at the school since none of the primitive toilets are currently able to be used. The requirements for a proper septic system and toilets was discussed and Fr. Mews agreed to consult with an engineer and to get plans and costs forwarded to the APA once these could be finalized. The team also got to visit the extensive agricultural property behind the school and to review the situation with the current tenant and his lack of payment and they also discussed ways to revive the broiler chicken growing operation. They also visited a third parcel that the church owns, where it is hoped a church will someday be constructed. During this tour of the properties the team had the opportunity to meet with Deacon Rosemond and the postulant Steevens Morency to discuss various issues of concern to them. The visit concluded with a discussion with Deaconess Jocelyn Lerzin, the Principle of the school, and the blessing of a monstrance for the church. The team then headed back to Cap Hatien for lunch at the Lakay Restaurant. The remainder of the afternoon was spent purchasing supplies for the service on Sunday, this included candles for the altar, wine for communion, as well as a Bible for Steevens Morency the postulant who would be ordained to the Diaconate on Sunday. Fr. Paul and Bishop David then returned to their hotel for the evening where they enjoyed a quiet dinner and an early night. Pictures of Day 2 On the morning of October 27, the team was picked up at 9 am to travel to the village of Caracol for a meeting with the candidates for ordination and confirmation and to rehearse for the service on Sunday. The meeting was scheduled to begin at 10 am. On the way to the meeting the team stopped to purchase more bottled water. Upon arriving at the village, the team was taken on an unplanned and unannounced side trip to meet with the owners of the house that it was hoped could be rented for the clergy who are to serve this new congregation so that they would have a place to stay overnight. As is customary in Haiti the owners were asking for the rent in advance, but instead of the customary one year in advance they were asking for two years rent, amounting to $2,000. With no foreknowledge of the need or the meeting the team was quick to explain that this was not anything they could agree to at this time and after some awkward conversation and apologies from the owners the team then traveled on to the scheduled meeting in the village. Needless to say, the unscheduled meeting set a bad tone for the rest of the day. The team did however manage to arrive for the rehearsal and scheduled meeting by 10 am. Then the wait for the clergy and confirmands to arrive began. When by 10:45 am a number of the clergy had still not arrived, those who were present began, under the direction of Deacon Wilfrid Uylsse, to set up the space where the service was to be held on Sunday by removing the tables and arranging the benches and chairs into rows and setting up a large table as the altar. By 11:45 all the clergy and ordination candidates were present but only two of the eight confirmands. Bishop David distributed the chasubles and stoles he had brought for each of the Ordinands, as well as Ordo Calendars and Holy Oils to each of the clergy. Then with the help of Fr. Paul Rivard and Fr. Mews Guerrier each of the clergy and the postulant signed the Oaths of Conformity required by the APA Constitution and Canons. The rehearsal for the service took several hours with many difficulties and rough spots. This is not to be unexpected when working through a translator and with everyone involved unfamiliar with the service and its many parts. After several hours most participants had a general understanding of what they were to do and where they were to be during the service tomorrow. Just as the rehearsal came to an end, Fr. Mews announced that the two confirmands who were present had not been baptized. A bowl and water were procured and Bishop David assisted by Fr. Paul Rivard and Deacon Nacius Pierre Nelson baptized Noel Veles and Metellus Martha and welcomed them as the newest members of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Following the rehearsal, the team drove to the coastal town of Caracol (distinct from the Village of Caracol) a distance of about 6 miles, where they visited the family apartments and restaurant of the translator Ronel Joseph. This was an opportunity for the team to relax and destress briefly after a tense day. Several small purchases were made in the town, including more bottled water before the team headed back to Cap Haitien around 4 pm. Arriving back at the hotel, the team discovered that the hotel dining room had been stripped of all tables and chairs which had been taken to the banquet center at the hotel where a large college graduation banquet was planned for that evening. Arrangements were then made for dinner to be brought to the room. Dinner was then eaten overlooking the pool and banquet area on a small table procured from the room and the patio chairs on the veranda outside the room.  The team then retired for the night with the pulsing music and happy chatter of more than two hundred and fifty guests at the open-air banquet center across the way ringing in their ears. Pictures of Day 3 On Sunday October 28 (the feast day of Saint Simon and Saint Jude) the team awoke early to find that there was no water in the hotel. After bringing this to the attention of the hotel management and following some loud banging and metallic noise, water was restored. After a light breakfast the team was ready and waiting to be picked up for the journey to the village of Caracol and the biggest day of the trip. Unfortunately, the team’s driver and translator, Mr. Ronel Joseph, was late arriving due to a flat tire problem with the taxi. About thirty minutes behind schedule the team traveled to Caracol. As traffic was light on Sunday the team made good time and arrived well ahead of the scheduled start time of 9 am. After vesting in the area prepared for the service, the team met Fr. Paul D’Haiti, an ACC priest who lives in a town nearby (Tierre Rouge) and who had been invited to take part in the service. Once vested the altar party, all the clergy, and confirmands and their families walked over to the rental house, which was conveniently just across the street. Once the preparations were complete the group then processed across the street and into the area serving as the church. During the preparations Fr. Mews distributed a bulletin for the service which had a different order of service from the one that had been used at the rehearsal the day before. The bishop informed Fr. Mews that they would stick with the order of service as rehearsed yesterday. The service commenced a few minutes behind the scheduled start-time with about eighty-five people in attendance. People continued to arrive throughout the service so that at the end there were around two hundred and fifty people present, including a twenty-member choir that had come from another church. The service proceeded very smoothly when compared to the rehearsal the day before and lasted just over three hours. During the service Bishop David ordained Mr. Steevens Morency to the Diaconate and Deacons Wilfrid Ulysse, Rosemond Etienne, Yvon Thermidor, and Nacius Pierre Nelson to the sacred order of Priests. In addition, Francisco Ause-Kynsie, Compere Rose Carline, Ferdinand Djoubny, Compere Djounia, Gelin Lovendy, Metellus Martha, Pierrestil Telismene and Noel Velez were confirmed by Bishop David. Fr. Mews Guerrier was the presenter of both the ordinands and confirmands. Bishop David preached the sermon and Fr. Paul Rivard read the Litany for Ordinations in French, while Mr. Ronel Joseph led the congregation in the responses. Fr. Paul D’Haiti sang the regular Litany in French-Creole and the congregation sang the responses. The newly ordained Deacon, Rev. Mr. Steevens Morency read the Gospel. Following their ordinations, the newly ordained priests concelebrated the Mass with Bishop David and Fr. Mews. At the end of the service the newly ordained priests were able to give their first priestly blessings, first to the Bishop and other clergy, then to their families and other members of the congregation. Towards the end of the service, Fr. Mews, the newly designated Coordinator of the Missionary District of the Caribbean, announced the assignments for each of the clergy. Fathers Wilfrid Ulysse and Yvon Thermidor are to serve at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Caracol and Fathers Rosemond Etienne and Nacius Pierre Nelson, together with Deacon Steevens Morency are to serve at St. Yves Church, Balan. After the service a sumptuous Haitian meal together with drinks and desert was enjoyed by all the guests and clergy in the adjoining cafeteria building.  This was a fitting end to a glorious day in the life of the Anglican Church in Haiti. At the conclusion of activities, the team drove Fr. Paul D’Haiti back to his home in Tierre Rouge (a distance of about 6 miles), where they were introduced to Fr. Bruno (a retired Episcopal priest) who runs an organization called Esperance Et Vie, (Hope and Life) a philanthropic organization serving mostly children in northern Haiti. He discussed several of his experiences over the years working in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic and talked about several of the projects that his organization has initiated in the community. One project involves the collection of plastic water and soda bottles and using them to construct fences using rope and PVC pipe. These make colorful barriers as well as making use of a large number of plastic bottles that litter the streets and highways of Haiti. The team then returned to Cap Haitien, stopping at a local grocery store that sold American and other European groceries where they purchased Haitian chocolate, French cookies and American Chobani yogurt for treats. They then returned to their hotel where they had a light dinner followed by fresh mango gathered from the hotel garden, cookies and yogurt. The day ended the way it began with no water in the hotel so the team was un able to wash after a very long, hot and sweaty day. The team considered using the swimming pool at the hotel to freshen up but the discovery of a dead bat floating in the pool a few days earlier, resulting in the hotel swimming pool being referred to as “The Bat Pool,” discouraged them from trying it. Before retiring for the night, the Bishop and Fr. Paul hung up their soaked vestments to dry. Pictures of Day 4 On Monday October 29 after a relaxing breakfast the team prepared for a meeting and teaching session with the clergy. All of the clergy with the exception of Fr. Mews were there on time and the meeting began at 10 am as scheduled. Fr. Mews was unable to be there because he had a problem with the brakes in the car he had borrowed and had to get a roadside repair done before being able to drive to the hotel for the meeting. In the course of the morning various aspects regarding the calling, vocation, service, and sacrifice of the priesthood were discussed with good participation from the newly ordained clergy. Logistical aspects regarding channels for official communication were also discussed. Fr. Mews was able to get to the meeting just before noon and in time for a lunch of shrimp in creole sauce, rice, beans, fried plantains, cucumber and tomato. The discussions continued informally during the course of the meal. It was during this time that we learned that Fr. Yvon Therimidor, who had been living in a Roman Catholic Rectory together with Roman Catholic clergy and who had been employed as a catechist at a local Roman Catholic Church, had been asked to move out since he was now an Anglican priest. He was also told that his services as a catechist would no longer be required. This experience served as an excellent example of the earlier discussion regarding the sacrifice that often comes with serving God in the priesthood. This young priest had lost his accommodations and part of his livelihood all on the same day as a result of his ordination. After lunch the teaching continued with a discussion of Anglican Church Polity looking specifically at the structure and election of vestries and the election and appointment of officers. Diocesan structure and synods and the election of delegates and representatives from each parish were also discussed. Fr. Paul Rivard also talked about the Dioceses in the APA and drew a diagram to illustrate the geographic distribution of the Dioceses in the US. In addition, the necessity for clergy to teach about tithing to their congregations and for the congregations to take on the responsibility of purchasing their own church supplies from these collected funds was stressed. The meeting was then closed with the Lord’s Prayer shortly before 4 pm. Following the meeting the team said their goodbyes to the Haitian clergy and retired to their room to debrief before preparing for the departure back to the US the following morning. On returning to their room the team were informed that the TV repairman who had been promised soon after our arrival four days ago, was now here to repair the TV. Within two minutes he had the TV working and was on his way out of the room. The team then ate a light dinner and returned to the room to watch a little television and to pack for the journey back to the US. The team then returned to Fort Pierce on October 30 where they spent the night before undertaking the ten-hour road trip back to Simpsonville, SC and Wilmington, NC the following day. Please continue to pray for the ongoing work in Haiti and for the men and women who are working there to establish and maintain God’s Kingdom in that part of the world. Pictures of Day 5
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