When Sean Forrest, founder of Movin’ With The Spirit, Inc., returned from his first trip to Haiti in 2002, he was convinced that God was calling him and his team to expand the reach of their ministry: It was a call to embrace the orphaned children of this poor island nation.
Ten years and many challenges later—including the 2010 earthquake that tore through the country, leaving so many dead in the rubble—MWTS Mission Haiti is a testament to God’s miracles and faithfulness. The mission is home to a thriving and joy-filled orphanage, a state-of-the-art school, and a beautiful chapel, while plans for a new medical facility are currently underway.
Forrest recently shared with Lynn Wehner (full disclosure: Lynn serves as marketing director for MWTS) his reflections on MWTS Mission Haiti, 10 years after that first call from God.
HOW DID MISSION HAITI START?
I love that God never asks you to do something and then abandons you. Soon after he made it clear to me that our team was to care for his children in Haiti, we were brought together with Haitians from Dandann and Duverger (on the Haitian peninsula) who shared our dream and cleared the way for us to have the land we needed to begin.
It wasn’t long before the building of the Kay Mari orphanage was underway. People across the US who heard our story through my talks or other team members began donating to the cause, and missionaries started coming to work on specific projects or to just play with the growing family of children at Kay Mari. Soon came the chapel, and then the donation of a school by a company in Mexico. God’s generosity knows no bounds. We just need to say yes to the call.
HOW DID THE LOCAL HAITIAN PEOPLE RESPOND?
It was so incredibly beautiful and humbling. We asked the villagers how they would feel about our bringing other needy Haitians into their village for care. Their response? “We’re Christians, too, and we’re also called to care for the poor.” They have worked alongside us as part of our team ever since, every step of the way.
WHAT IS YOUR INSPIRATION?
The guiding motto for our Movin’ With The Spirit team is “MWTS: God’s Plan. Our hands.” It is truly his plan and inspiration that puts us into action. With our Haiti mission especially, I often reflect on James 1:27, in which we are commanded by Jesus to care for the widows and orphans. It is not an option. We must feed, clothe, and shelter the poor. But this means so much more than just putting money in the collection basket. To truly care for God’s people means that we are also called to preach the Truth to them—even when the Truth is difficult to hear.
HOW DO YOU PROVIDE SPIRITUALLY?
We have built two churches, and, whenever possible, we bring priests to the area to serve the spiritual needs of the people and help to support the Haitian priests. As Catholics, we are consistently called on to help combat heresy and the false gods of other religions so prevalent in Haiti. We have also brought Bibles there, including audio Bibles in Creole for those who cannot read. The spiritual support is at the heart of the mission.
DID THE HAITIAN EARTHQUAKE IN JANUARY 2010 AFFECT YOU?
The earthquake certainly threw us right into the fire. We had just received the first orphaned child into our care and were about to open our doors when we found ourselves serving as a refugee camp for hundreds of people who had been caught in the earthquake’s destruction. As with everything for this mission, we believe God planned our exact timing so that we were ready to serve. Our village today is still seen as a place of hope.
WHERE DO THE CHILDREN GO TO SCHOOL?
We have just completed a state-of-the-art school that will be able to educate 500 children! Some will walk an hour or two from the surrounding villages to get there. We are right now working to raise the funds to equip the facility with computers and key supplies and to hire the best Catholic teachers in the region. We hope to be a part of an educational effort that helps to create future Haitian leaders and true disciples of Christ.
ANY NEW PROJECTS?
Building a local medical facility is the next key undertaking. Right now we are able to take care of minor injuries, but we devote much of our medical funding to ambulatory services—getting the sick, injured, or pregnant to a hospital—when the roads even allow for that luxury. In planning is a medical clinic to help serve the health needs of the people in and around our villages in ways that are more effective and less costly.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED?
Too many things to even begin listing! But one of the most significant things has been seeing firsthand that the false social gospel is not enough. Yes, the people of Haiti need food—but they are also so hungry to know Jesus. Many will miss a meal if they can get to a prayer service.
WHAT CAN PEOPLE DO TO HELP?
Movin’ With The Spirit is a grass-roots organization that depends on the generosity of others. Our funding comes from direct donations or from fundraising done by the missionaries who come on trips to serve in the village.
WHAT IS A HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR JOURNEY?
It would have to simply be God’s faithfulness to the entire project. We have a dedicated, loyal team of staff and missionaries, but we are at the mercy of the Lord—and we live in grateful awe of how he continues to provide for our every need.
FIND OUT MORE: Visit MWTS on-line.
Donations to fund the efforts of Mission Haiti can be made online at mwts.org or sent to:
Movin’ With The Spirit Mission Haiti
P.O. Box 238
Columbia, CT 06237
For information about going on a mission trip, contact Kristin Todzia at firstname.lastname@example.org or (203) 815-2539.