Haiti. A country known for its poverty, its struggle with voodoo and its earthquakes.
Haiti is part of the tiny island known as Hispaniola, which it shares with the more developed Dominican Republic. Most Christians in North America would recognize it as a country in need of the gospel and to say it faces significant challenges would be an understatement.
There has been a long history of political instability and corruption in the government. Transportation and infrastructure are poor. The country has faced a significant number of natural disasters, most notably the hurricane of 2010 that left hundreds of thousands deceased and a million people homeless. Even today, many people live without consistent access to power or running water. Voodoo beliefs are still very strong, and many people are without hope. There are almost 11 million people living in the country - how do we reach them with the gospel?
Our response to that question is TWR’s newest national partner, Radio 4VEH: “The Evangelistic Voice of Haiti.” Radio 4VEH has operated since the 1950s, speaking hope over a growing radio network. To date, it operates four FM stations, one AM station and a TV program. As well, their programs are available online. Their signal covers two-thirds of Haiti as well as parts of neighbouring islands. Many Haitians listen to the radio for the majority of their day. Programming is in Haitian Creole as well as some French and English and covers a variety of content including Scripture teaching, worship, prayer, family relationships as well as more community-focused subjects like news, health, agriculture and life skills.
Even though Radio 4VEH only recently became a partner of TWR, we have worked together for many years. Radio 4VEH’s TV program, Living Truth, was created and produced by TWR Canada’s partner in Quebec, Aujourd’hui l’Espoir. Radio 4VEH also broadcasts two of Aujourd’hui l’Espoir’s radio programs. Much of Radio 4VEH’s production was coordinated by or through TWR, and we have worked together on specific programs – for example, a program telling of the hope of Christ to the earthquake survivors in 2010. Storly Michel, Radio 4VEH’s director, refers to TWR as its “big brother.”
Formalizing our partnership allows us to work even more closely to reach Haiti for Christ. Canadian missionary and TWR’s vice president of Latin American and the Caribbean, Steve Shantz, was critical in forming this partnership. In May, he was able to accompany Radio 4VEH on a fix-tuned radio distribution trip. He, along with a team from a local church and staff from 4VEH, even visited a voodoo priestess, prayed for her and gave her a solar-powered radio. What an awesome opportunity we have to share the love of Christ in Haiti!
In a recent update, Steve wrote, “Pray for Radio 4VEH and the great work they are doing. Pray also for the radio distribution and the people of Haiti. What is holding Haiti back? Pray for the next generation and that sound biblical teaching will break through the strongholds of Satan.”
Let us lift up the people of Haiti in prayer, and let us move forward and reach this nation with the truth and hope found only in Jesus Christ.