JeanJean and Kristie with their children (L-R) Kerri and Tana, 2008
In 2007, Many Hands was a seed about to be planted in Haiti. Over the years, I’ve been taught by Keith Korver on how to discern the Holy Spirit, as opposed to discerning your own will. The crux of the training is in the confirmations. One confirmation, pay attention, but it doesn’t mean much. Two confirmations, start listening intently, but it doesn’t mean go just yet. A third confirmation, it is God’s will and you will be miserable if you do not follow this calling. In April of that year, I had my first confirmation, as I wrote a white paper (strategic plan) about how we could work united in missions, facing the Global Giants God wanted us to face in His name. I sent it to some people who were working in Haiti and it came back with a resounding, “Yes!” The second and third confirmations came while seeking God’s voice with people of great faith, Kristie and JeanJean Mompremier, who started United Christians International (UCI) in Caiman, Haiti. I’m forever grateful for their words of encouragement, prayers, and blessing to us in the early stages of ministry.
“Like small coals needing oxygen to burst into flame, Kristie breathed life into my vision…“
On October 27, 2007, I just couldn’t get that plan out of my head. God had given me a vision, and I needed to share it with more people than just a few from the Iowa mission teams. Seeking God’s direction, He led me to send an email to Kristie and JeanJean, laying out my heart and vision for what I believed God was asking. Earlier in July, Catie and I had led our first mission trip to Haiti and we were introduced to Kristie and JeanJean. We attended a church service with them and after the service, we went back to their house for lunch. At the time, they had a small pastor training program and that was it. We were all impressed with their heart to serve the Lord and teach the Good News of the gospel to Haitian pastors, leaving a little money behind to use as needed. Before sending the email, I prayed a prayer, breathed a deep breath and hit send. It isn’t all the time I bear my heart to people who I figured would laugh or scoff it off. I waited five days for a response (little did I know they had no power because of all the rain in Haiti) and when I received it, I had my second confirmation. Like small coals needing oxygen to burst into flame, Kristie breathed life into my vision, confirming what I had felt from God.
Looking back at the email (read the entire email exchange here), I see the naivety in some of my thinking (doesn’t every American think starting an orphanage is the answer? Doh!). I also see the same heart, the same vision, and the same core principles being played out in what is now Many Hands for Haiti. It is incredible to me and gives me faith to know this has nothing to do with me and all to do with Christ and His truth. If it was of me, it would have all crashed and burned by now, but God’s vision and truth
“If He has given this to you, you must do it.“
About one year after that email, November 16-20, 2008, God gave me the third and final confirmation to “go”. From November 2007 to November 2008, it had been a wild ride. Doors opened and closed, changing some of the direction we originally set out on. We needed the final confirmation. After a time of prayer, we determined we needed to go to Haiti for a final “
Local pastors meeting on the UCI campus, 2008
Then, in a loving confirmation from God, He gave a sign to seal this decision. On the UCI campus, they were struggling to get water, a necessity to continue the work God had given them. They had brought in the very expensive and very modern well-diggers to find water. Twice they had come and twice they had dry holes. UCI still had to pay for those dry holes, even though
Tim’s original video of the well-diggers, 2008
I was in awe and it was then that God confirmed the call in my heart. Yes, there were many “professional organizations” in Haiti, but they were dry holes. Yes, it would be incredibly hard work, but if we committed ourselves to prayer and gave God all we had (like rebar, a bucket, and some rope), He would do incredibly more in us than we could imagine. We would strike water. Immediately, Matthew 17:20 came to mind, where Jesus says to his disciples, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” I’ve lived in this mindset ever since the day I saw the Haitian well-digger perform a miracle at UCI.
Many Hands for Haiti stands on the shoulders of Kristie and JeanJean Mompremier, who fanned the Holy Spirit flames in us, confirming a calling to move forward in faith. UCI has always been before us, doing incredible God work in Caiman. I stand in awe to see God work through them, remembering the tiny gazebo of pastors being trained, to the thousands of people they now bless daily. As was detailed in the email between Kristie and me in 2007, we move forward in unity through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection power, to transform lives in Christ.
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.