Short Takes Winter 2023
Haiti Struggles, but the Lord Continues to Provide
In recent years, the collapse of society in Haiti due to natural disasters, political instability, government corruption, and crime have impacted our congregations there. Our churches were forced to close during the pandemic, and for safety reasons only a few have been able to reopen, and that on a very limited basis.
However, God has continued to provide for their daily necessities, and the congregations look forward to the day when they will hold services again. During the closures, a donation made it possible to rebuild our church in Tirette and replace the roofs of our churches in Roche-a-Bateau and Port-Salut. All three had been severely damaged by hurricanes.
In addition, until recently, we have been able to maintain an evangelistic effort through a secondary school by providing salaries for twelve teachers. The school is located next door to our headquarters church in Mirebalais and is operated by the Apostolic Faith. It serves one hundred students. We join in praying for the school classes to resume very soon.
A New Church in Jamaica after Roof Collapses
Last May, the roof collapsed at the Albert Town church in Trelawny, Jamaica, where Reverend Sheila Ricketts is the pastor. The Jamaica District Superintendent, Reverend Rohan Clough, contacted the Portland headquarters about the situation asking if a loan would be possible. It was determined that headquarters could hardly loan funds for the roof; we wanted to give funds for the roof. When United States pastors learned of the pressing need, funds were soon donated to cover the cost of building a new church!
By November 2022, construction had progressed to include outer walls and a roof. The congregation looks forward to worshiping in the new building and holding a dedication service in the coming months.
Construction Resumes on Mozambique Headquarters
Construction has resumed on a new headquarters church for our work in Mozambique, which is led by Reverend Francisco Chatisso. The building is much needed as the congregation long ago outgrew the current church. The project was started twelve years ago, but a major setback occurred three years ago when Cyclone Ida devastated Mozambique and knocked down nearly half the structure.
On September 28, Reverend John Musgrave representing the Portland headquarters and Reverend Oniyas Gumbo, the Southern Africa District Superintendent, traveled to Mozambique. They were accompanied by their wives and several leaders of the work in Southern Africa. The next morning, the group toured the construction site, which is located on the same property in Chimoio as the current headquarters church. They noted that the outer walls are in place, forming an impressive stone structure, and nearby are mango trees and a fifty-foot hand-dug well.
Members of the congregation who were arriving for a church service soon gathered at the construction site and began singing. Then words of encouragement were shared as well as prayer for completion of the project before the group dispersed.
Since then, construction has been ongoing, and the saints in Mozambique look forward to holding a dedication service in the near future.
Two New Churches Dedicated in India
Two congregations in India dedicated new church buildings in October. The first dedication took place at our Kapavaram location on October 11. The saints there have been worshiping under a rented tent since 2012. They acquired a scenic parcel of land in 2016 with donated funds but did not have the means to begin construction. Nearly five years later, on January 26, 2021, they rejoiced as the foundation to the building was laid.
Now the congregation has a beautiful church, located at the edge of the village, in a setting that has been described as “breathtaking.” During the dedication ceremony, the doors were left open to the view of green rice fields stretching for miles with an occasional coconut tree.
The pastor, Reverend Jaya Raju, and his wife, Santhi, along with their children, Jyothi and Suvarna, hosted the event. A special cake was made for the occasion and everyone received a slice following the ceremony, which included a dedicatory message and prayer.
The second dedication took place on October 18 at our Pedapudi location. As guests arrived, a small band played while several saints tossed flower pedals. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held outside and included a dedicatory prayer.
Inside, a ladies’ choir sang, visiting pastors shared words of encouragement, and a minister shared how the new church came to be built. The congregation outgrew the previous church and made plans to expand the square footage. However, it was soon discovered that the roof was unstable, and all services had to be halted. The saints prayed for a solution and God answered by providing funds through the Portland headquarters to build a new church.
The dedication service continued with a brief exhortation in which the new church was compared to a type of “gas station” where individuals can “fill up” with God’s Spirit. Following the service, dinner was provided for everyone who attended, as well as others who heard about the meal. In all, over eight hundred were fed.