Person of Peace

by | Aug 30, 2018

In April 2014 I was praying to God for answers. Earlier in the year, we had noticed some integrity issues with our Country Director (who is no longer with us) and there didn’t seem to be any good answers. One thing I knew, I had to get the money out of our director’s hands and into someone else’s trusted hands in Haiti. For those who know Haiti, this is no small task, as changes like this aren’t made without considerable backlash and danger for the individual and the organization. I shared this with a trusted friend in Haiti and he said, “I have a man for you.” We arranged a chance meeting between the two of us at a community event, as to not draw too much attention. That was the day I first met Appolon Paul Elysee and I remember it like it was yesterday. Wearing blue jeans, a white polo shirt, and sneakers, this fortyish-year-old man was leading worship time for a group of young kids. And he was LEADING worship, not withholding anything from these kids or God. This was the day the ministry started down a new path, one leading us through immense darkness to reach the brighter light on the other side. One we knew God was calling us into for His Kingdom work on Earth. In talking with Appolon, he was willing to walk with us on this new path. He was and has been an answer to prayer since that day in April 2014.

Appolon with the MH4H team, 2014

In Luke 10, Jesus sends out his 72 disciples to bring the Good News to the people of the area. In this sending, He gives them some specific instructions. First, He told them the harvest is great, but the workers are few, so pray for more workers to join in the harvest. Second, He warned them because He was sending them out like lambs among wolves. This would not be easy work and they would constantly be depending upon God for protection. Upon reflection, I am struck by how much these instructions, given to the disciples 2,000 years ago, mirror the same instructions given to us in early 2014. God’s words are timeless, and He still speaks today.

“…just like a fruit tree planted by a stream, they can’t help but bear God’s fruit.”

Then, in verses 5-12, Jesus shares something profound, forever changing my outlook on how to navigate ministry. Jesus told the disciples when entering a new town, find the person of peace. If you find the person of peace, God’s blessing will stand and the Kingdom of God will be near. But, if you don’t find the person of peace, wipe the dust from your feet and move on. Don’t waste time on people and communities who have no peace, as it will only bring sorrow, destruction, and judgment. And how can you tell if the person or the community is one of God’s peace? Look for the Fruit of the Spirit, with tangible displays of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If these fruits are present in people, they are ready to start working in the harvest.

Appolon teaching a class

As I’ve gotten to know Appolon more and more over the years, his conviction to stand with integrity to bear God’s fruit is evident. He stood by us through the long, dark nights in 2014. Because of his choices to stand with us in integrity, this caused real danger to him and his family. Even in being a lamb among wolves, Appolon has done his best to be a person of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. He has been a person of peace with Many Hands for Haiti for over four years, and we rejoice in God’s call on his life. In addition to the work he does for Many Hands, Appolon has also been the Executive Director for Youth Action of Haiti (YAH), starting the organization in 2003. It is no coincidence, but rather God’s divine plan, that YAH’s work has been primarily in Maliarette, focusing on empowering school-aged children. Like Appolon, we have heard God’s call for this community, coming alongside YAH and focusing our work on strengthening families, so children prenatal to age five can have a firm foundation to thrive and parents have all the tools necessary to provide for their families economically, physically, and spiritually. This will serve as a foundation for many families who will end up sending their school-aged children to YAH. With God’s help, this will also demonstrate how organizations can work in step with one another to accomplish shared goals for the community, rather than competing programs. Appolon is once again our person of peace, ushering in God’s blessing so we can stand together to bring the Kingdom of God to the area of Maliarette.  

Appolon (center) with the MH4H team during a volunteer day in Pignon
Many Hands for Haiti stands on the shoulders of Appolon Paul Elysee, who is a person of peace bearing Kingdom fruit. Appolon is a brother to me, and I am so thankful God brought him to us during those troubled times. May God continue to protect him and his family and the communities we work in together. May God continue to transform us to be His vessels, bearing sweet fruit to give the world as His offering. May His blessing be on the next phase of ministry in Maliarette, anointing our work to bring the Good News in this broken world.

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