Debra Schlaht, Director of International Programs, Nehemiah Project joined Pastor Tami Firman, Missions Director East River Church in Haiti the week of April 12th. They joined Monique Guillaume in Port Au Prince. The purpose of the trip was to connect with BE III students who needed to complete their business plans and help prepare them for the 2016 Business Plan Competition and to share updates of recent leadership changes. In Port Au Prince, 13 students came on three consecutive nights to work on their financial projections and a teacher meeting was held.
In Pignon, Pastor Tami and Debra met with 15 students, all of whom were business owners. Our host was the Philadelphia Baptist Church of Pignon Guest House headed by Rev. Francoise Romelus.
One student commented, “Now that I see the importance of knowing my business expenses, I can be more profitable in my business…Before this class, I bought and sold animals without thinking about how much I paid for feed, medicine and transportation. I now understand why it is important to know this so I can charge a fair price.”
Pastor Tami is also working with FISH Ministries to help three pastors participate in a three-year chicken farm project designed to provide needed income. This is a Haitian led project with expert support provided. Their BE training will be an asset as they learn this sustainable business.
Students will finish their Summary Business Plans by April 30th so Pastor Tami, Monique and Debra can provide feedback. Pignon and Port Au Prince will hold local Business Plan Competitions in June. The two winners will compete in July to represent Haiti at the International Business Plan Competition in Orlando in September.
Leve Kampe Mache led the launch of the EB Haiti program with the leadership of Pastor Ebed Paul. His enthusiasm, community outreach and leadership saw more than 600 students attend BE classes from 2014 – 2015. Sadly, he needed to return to the USA to secure his green card and immigration status which did not allow him the opportunity to lead the program further. We are very grateful for his leadership and efforts that established the BE program in more than five cities and to begin the work of transforming the marketplace for Jesus Christ.
Without a country leader, it was determined to create three geographic hubs would be designated for EB programs. In Port Au Prince, the Committee Leader is Monique Guillaume. As a recognized leader in the community, Monique is a long – time supporter of the Nehemiah Project. Her committee will include Pastor Gerard Paul and other teachers to continue to advance the program.
We are looking for a leader for Cap Haitian over the next months. We’re excited about the future of the EB Haiti program and look forward to the next Business Plan Competition and upcoming classes.
We met with a Christian grocery store owner, Hassan and his wife in Port Au Prince. He shared his story of the challenges he faced when his store was destroyed by looters, his family kidnapped, and then the devastation of the earthquake. Each time, the LORD has restored and blessed his business with more than he started. They print copies of the Bible in French and Creole to be distributed to churches, customers and vendors. They are an example of Kingdom Business for the Glory of God.
In Pignon, we met with another NGO, Many Hands for Haiti. They too, experienced complete loss of their land and buildings through theft from the land owner. But they too trusted God and today they have a campus over 8 acres with a guest house, agronomy program with 1700 plantain trees, an early childhood education program and a goal to provide 777 concrete floors in nearby homes in 2016. So far, they have completed more than 250 using local leadership and workers.
On my trip to PIgnon last year, I was privileged to participate in a river baptism. One of the most moving experiences of my life. There I met an eight-year-old boy who had only a small shirt on and was hungry. As many before me, my heart broke. I began working with a local pastor who took this child, Roblin, into his home to care for him. My family established the Schlaht Family Haiti Education Fund and began to provide support for Roblin’s education.
What a thrill it was to see him at Pastor Willick’s home this year. He is receiving at least 2 meals a day, is healthy, going to school, loves soccer and his favorite scripture is Psalm 3:5 “I lay down and slept; I awoke for the LORD sustained me”. Pastor Willick has brought other children into his home. It was heartwarming to see their love and care for each other.
The people of Haiti are warm, kind, ambitious and resilient. Please join us in alleviating poverty around the world through Biblical Entrepreneurship today. Make a donation here.