Let Us Not Grow Weary in Doing Good
Craig and Christi Gabhart
In Galatians 6:9, Paul writes to the church of Galatia, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” If anyone can pen these words with authority, it is Paul. From the time of his conversion on the Damascus road, Paul tirelessly traveled Asia Minor and the regions around the Mediterranean Sea preaching the Good News to the Gentile nations. Even though he was not one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus, Paul became a central character in the formation of Christianity because he never grew tired of doing good, even despite the hardships and personal persecution. As I reflect on the ministry of Many Hands for Haiti, there is one couple who demonstrates the characteristics of Paul: Craig and Christi Gabhart.
“…they always pointed back to God, as it was for His glory.”
Many forget this, but Craig and Christi were the lead drivers in opening our first thrift store, Many Hands Market, in Spencer, IA. On April 4, 2012, I met with Christi at the Culvers in Ft. Dodge, IA, sharing a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) with her. God had placed on my heart a vision for a thrift store to raise resources, volunteers, and awareness for the work in Haiti, and it wasn’t supposed to open in Pella. Christi took that vision and ran with it, opening the store on August 3, 2013. Craig, Christi, family members, and many volunteers spent countless hours to build, open, and operate the store. As the store became a smashing success, they always pointed back to God, as it was for His glory.
Christi running the register at the Many Hands Market
Craig working with Heather Brown to serve a customer
On November 11, 2013, I met with Craig and Christi, as well as Rick and Karmen Brown, who had recently returned from Haiti, at that same Culvers in Ft. Dodge, IA. During our four hours of discussion (no joke!), it became very clear we had some major problems with leadership in Haiti. I asked the team to pray for an American couple to move to Haiti, as our Haitian staff needed daily mentoring and spiritual guidance to handle the level of influence. About a week or two later, I received a message from Craig, “We need to talk.” I called Craig and he asked me, “What if the couple we need to move to Haiti is us?” He then proceeded to tell me that when I said we needed a couple to move to Haiti, he knew it was them. Over the past week, he and Christi had been praying for clarity on this potential call, but they couldn’t shake the fact they knew it was them. After more prayer and time of discernment, it was confirmed from multiple people that they were the God-anointed couple to move to Haiti. In the third week of June 2014, Craig and Christi stepped off the MFI plane for the first time as full-time Haiti missionaries.
“There are so many Haitians who now have Jesus as their Lord and Savior because of Craig and Christi…”
With this being the four-year anniversary of that decision, it is hard to fathom all that has happened during this time: major persecution, losing everything, a year of transition, rebirthing vision, new land purchased, new buildings erected, staff expansion, new programs, and hundreds of teams. The transformation in the ministry has been staggering with Craig and Christi at the helm in Haiti. None of us understood what hung in the balance of their decision to move to Haiti in 2014.
Craig and Christi, 2014
I don’t know a better Bible verse to describe Craig and Christi in action than Galatians 6:9. The words “Let us not become weary in doing good” is at the heart of their service. The line of needy people at the front gate in Haiti never gets shorter. The amount of work and thought going into each short-term trip is immense. The paperwork, accounting, and meetings to continue to move the ministry forward in Haiti
Christi praying with a new believer
Craig teaching a group of students
Christi burning the midnight oil
Many Hands for Haiti stands on the shoulders of Craig and Christi Gabhart, who demonstrate what it means to serve without becoming weary in doing good, through Christ who gives them strength. On this four-year anniversary of them living full-time in Haiti, may God bless them and keep them. May His face shine upon them and be gracious to them. May the King of Kings and Lord of Lords turn His face toward them and give them peace.
HELP US CHANGE
GIVE TO THE 50/50 Campaign AND TRANSFORM TOGETHER WITH Families IN RURAL HAITI.
GIVE TO THE 50/50 CAMPAIGN AND HELP FAMILIES IN RURAL HAITI.
Many Hands stands on the shoulders of Tim and Lucia Van Maanen, whose sacrificial “I’m with you” spirit forever set our organization on God’s path.
Many Hands for Haiti stands on the shoulders of Pastor Francois Romelus, who is our angel on earth, gently guiding us with wisdom, courage, and love.
Many Hands for Haiti stands on the shoulders of Karmen Brown, who shows us how to love others with the love of Jesus.