Mon 30 Jul 2012
With thanksgiving in my heart and great appreciation to our Lord Jesus Christ who guided us and sustains us to finish and fulfill what has been started in Haiti years ago. Even though invitations were sent to all of those who participated in any way to the church building project, only eight of us were available to have the privilege and opportunity to participate to the dedication and the first convention of Eglise Du Christ Pentecostale (Pentecostal Church of Christ) in Orangers near Jacmel, Haiti. We take Jesus’ commission very seriously. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20
We read in the book of Acts that the disciples of Jesus Christ acted as they received guidance and leading from the Holy Spirit. This is true today as it was at that time because God is the same; yesterday, today and forever. In our first trip to Haiti in May 2009, I was moved by the Holy Spirit to go to Haiti even though I did not know anyone there. I answered a desperate call (that was made by Pastor Joseph Jasmin), to do something which God had already planned in the spiritual realm. I answered to this call after I sought the Will of the Lord and I understood that He wanted us to go there. Haiti is located in the Canary Islands and is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. The main religion of this country is voodoo (a religion of witchcraft and demonic worship).
Mission History in Haiti
The first intention of the Romanian Pentecostal community to do a mission in Haiti was in the year 2000 with a small group of brothers in Christ from California. After their few trips to Haiti since 2000, they realized that could not continue because they could not find any faithful or serious people among the Haitians to direct any missionary/charity projects proposed. God spoke to one of those brothers to purchase a property in Haiti in order to direct and fulfill the missionary purpose but they did not move on because they got discouraged. When one of the brothers heard that I had my first mission trip in Haiti, he told me that in order to have efficiency in the missionary work in Haiti; we need to have a property. In January 12th, 2010, Haiti was shocked from the foundation by a very strong earthquake. Many thousands died at that moment and for weeks (even for months), the deaths continued. The city of Port au Prince was one of the mostly devastated. Churches were also destroyed and this tragedy determined the Romanian Pentecostal community from the USA to have another mission to help and encourage those that lived in a very difficult condition. Members from churches in Chicago: Golgotha, Gethsemane and Elim; from Seattle: First Romanian Church; and from Portland: Betezda Romanian Church, departed on May 2010 in a mission to Haiti. The money that was raised from the Romanian Community at that time was used to buy bibles and food for those affected by the earthquake. The group decided to also purchase a land for a future church and proposed this to Pastor Jasmin from Gonaives and Pastor Médit from Jacmel. Our time to mission there was short and so we told them that we would pay for the land that is ready to be purchased. Among the places that we visited, pastor Médit knew about a land for sale in the Orangers area where he had a vision for a church that he had already started to lead in a rented building. We arrived at the site on Friday night and had available only Saturday to complete this transaction.
We also had scheduled the following: A seminar in the morning with the Christian workers from the area to officiate a baptism in the water, to purchase and distribute food for those that lived in the tents and also an evening church service. Saturday is a day that most official locations are closed for transactions but we prayed and we put a sign that if the notary from their City Hall would come to register the transaction, we would proceed and understand that it is God’s will because on Sunday, we were scheduled to be in Port au Prince for church services. God orchestrated this in such a way that the transaction was finalized at about 10 p.m. The land owner signed the contract to sell the land in the name of the church and also Blessed Hope International Mission who later became a legal non-profit organization registered in Haiti. Among the eight people that we baptized in the water that day were members converted from the Catholic Church. Catholic priests were very angry because their members converted to the Pentecostal church and so they spoke to the owner of the building where the Pentecostal church was renting space to worship God so that he would kick them out. In the month of June 2010, Pastor Médit Sanon called us very discouraged and frustrated and told us that they don’t have a place to worship anymore. A sister from the church (that lived in the area) opened her yard for the church to continue their services under a tree covered by a tarp to shield them from the weather. At the Pentecostal Convention in Atlanta, GA in 2010, I proposed to some pastors that I met there to go and help brothers from Haiti. Brothers from Nashville, TN, Texas, California, Indiana and Chicago organized themselves to start the construction of the foundation of the church at the end of September 2010. Many other groups from Romanian Pentecostal churches from Bethany Church in Chicago, Happy Valley in Phoenix, AZ, Texas and California continued the work in the months of November and December 2010. Outside the construction of the church, twenty-three orphaned children were adopted which are sponsored by many churches and families from the United States. In the year of 2011, churches from Detroit, California, Tennessee, Texas, North Carolina, Atlanta, Florida, Arkansas and Chicago contributed financially and physically to finalize the church building. Among the construction project, we also work through evangelization to develop new spiritual lives among Haitians. It is a joy to present and to work for Christ in other nations. We believe that God gave us this opportunity to work among Haitians not only to improve their lifestyle (which was severely affected by the recent quake and from their poverty) but also to encourage and to equip them for the service and spiritual growth.
A Vision Fulfilled
God directed us from Port au Prince to Gonaives and to Jacmel where I met Pastor Médit Sanon. God gave him a vision to start a church in a very poor area outside the city of Jacmel in the Orangers area (a mountainous and distressed area). When God guides someone to a cause, He provides for that cause. He will cause what has been established in the spiritual realm to happen in the natural realm. Pastor Médit Sanon founded a church on March 8th, 2009 of only seven members. God blessed them and multiplied them every week in that rented place next to the Catholic Church who soon became a little concerned because some of the members moved to the new Christian church. When I met Pastor Médit Sanon, I felt the Godly connection with him and I sensed in my heart that the Lord has a purpose for that area. I saw the Love of God and the love for his people in this pastor and that encouraged me to maintain communication. God’s providence protects His people in such a way that during the earthquake that also affected Jacmel, Pastor Medit Sanon’s house did not even have one crack. His neighbor’s newly built house collapsed like a mushroom. When I heard of this, I was even more committed to the work of Jacmel. God’s invisible hand orchestrated everything to be more than we imagined. Later when we already got involved in the construction project, I see their devotion to God like the people in the Old Testament. After the basement was constructed and they were holding the divine services, I saw all the church members one morning fasting with sackcloth’s on them. Even though this is not required of the New Testament faith in Jesus Christ, some people (when they desperately seek God), they practice fasting in sackcloth. God does not despise a humble heart but he always shows Himself strong to those that their hearts are fully committed to Him.
First Pentecostal Convention in Jacmel
The echo of the completion of this church building spread to many churches in Haiti. Pastor Médit learned from the Romanian Pentecostal community about an opportunity to mobilize the churches from the area in Jacmel to meet together and to have fellowship and teaching seminars. Over two hundred Christian workers and spiritual leaders came to this new building on July 18th – 21st to be empowered, refreshed and on fire with the power of God. Quality time of worshipping, teaching and prayer has been spent every day in the morning and afternoon. On Friday night, the power of God moved so mightily that no one wanted to end the service. People were healed, saved and restored. The girls on our team spent time with the children teaching them and showing them love. They also prepared bags of rice and beans for the poor people. Food and drinks were provided for everyone each day of the convention. A new season in the spiritual realm began for the Jacmel area. We give all the glory and praise to the Lord. The theme of the convention was from Matthew 16:18: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Golgotha Church from Chicago provided seventy-five shirts with this verse imprinted on it. The physical church has been completed and now the spiritual lives will be a priority to be built according to 2 Peter 1:3-4. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
Water Baptism in the Ocean
To those that the gospel has been preached and they believed it, accepted to be baptized in water.“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9-10
This is the command that Jesus Christ gave to us. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:15-16
Whenever we go around the world, we see people who are hungry for the Truth. When presented with the Gospel, the Holy Spirit moves in their hearts and they receive the Good News with great joy. Four people that received Jesus with great joy accepted to be baptized on Saturday, July 21st 2012.
Church Dedication and Ministry Ordination
The long awaited day of the dedication finally came and over four hundred people surrounded the church building early on Sunday morning, July 22nd waiting for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. We want to thank the Lord who mobilized us for such a great work which would not be possible without all the teams that generously participated financially and physically worked. Accomplishing Kingdom purpose requires a team united in spirit and in mission. The Bible shows us numerous examples of ministry being teamwork: Jesus and His disciples, Apostle Paul and his team and the epistles that he wrote exhorting the body of Christ to lock arms together. This church building is a sign of God’s confirmations and mobilizations in the mission field. We are together stronger than we are apart. No one is more important than the other. This is the way I believe the Kingdom of God should operate. Pastor Medit and the whole Pentecostal board of the church, together with us, are all extremely excited to be in the newly constructed building here in Orangers, Jacmel.
The Lord spoke to Pastor Médit years ago about this work. Today, it is amazing to see His word fulfilled in the natural realm. That day was a day of celebration for what the Lord did to the community in Orangers. We can say (like the Prophet Samuel), “Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”1 Samuel 7:12I preached at the dedication ceremony about the house of God and Pastor James from Massachusetts (born in Haiti), preached at ordination. On that day, seven deacons and two evangelists were ordained. I believe we will see a mighty move of the Holy Spirit in this area.
Together with us on this mission, we had a missionary (Florin Codreanu) who came in the month of April to work with Pastor Joseph Jasmin in Gonaives. This young missionary was recovered from the streets in Romania years ago by God’s Family Mission in Buzau, RO. He received the Lord and his life was restored from ten years of living in tunnels and other misery places. He is a miracle of God regeneration and recreation. After such a great and busy week full of work and excitement, we returned Sunday afternoon to Port au Prince. The girls departed from the children with tears. On our way to Port au Prince, Pastor Médit told us about a church named Shalom who grew very fast with an attendance of 50,000 members in one service. This church is built on a hill outside Port au Prince and has benches made out of cement blocks with metal sheets held by 2x4s to protect people from weather. There is a huge improvement made on a hill to accommodate the 50,000 people and has over 200,000 people that surrendered their life to Jesus Christ in two years celebrating this month.
I was completely moved to tears when I saw that because that reminded me about a prophetic message that we received from the Lord when our team visited Haiti in April 2010. I remember we were ministering to Soldiers for Christ Church in Port au Prince and the Lord spoke to our team about Haiti having a season where the harvest will be accelerated. Two years ago, all of us sensed the fields of the harvest were ripe more than ever in Haiti. There was a special time for Haiti after the earthquake and we felt that the fruit was at a perfect ripeness. We cannot wait for another day like that because the fruit can be lost. So we all sensed this window of opportunity and we want to maximize that opportunity and allow the Lord to use us to reap that very ripe harvest. Some of us proposed to remain in Haiti for a longer time. My brother-in-law Viorel from Portland even said “Let’s go to Florida for a good meal and come back to Haiti”. Although we saw that the window of opportunity of ripe harvest, we were very limited of the language barrier and accommodation but God who brings that season prepares and calls His servants accordingly. Such servant is André Muscadin who He is using to reap the harvest before it’s too late and I was rejoicing when I saw (in the present) of what God did in only two years. Pastor André’s wife told us how someone was paid to assassinate him but the Lord showed him from the pulpit that someone had a gun and intended to do some evil. He asked him to come and repent but he was ashamed because there were 50,000 people at the service. The man who held the gun came to him on Monday (the next day) morning and confessed to him that he was the one with the gun. He testified that he could not see pastor André at the pulpit but instead only light.“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Genesis 50:20
Although the devil did everything he could to stop this project from happening, the Lord has been faithful and now, all of you who have prayed for all of us and financially and physically helped towards this project can now rejoice to see it done. I believe this project was a prophetic sign to this nation and not only a sign – but also a divine affirmation. We cannot help describe enough but there is an extraordinary spiritual significance that is far deeper than we even realize. God has a plan for this nation of Haiti (which was darkened by voodoo and other evils) and we (you and us) have a strategic part to play. God faithfully meets us when we show obedience to go and preach and work. Our words and actions are nothing without the Holy Spirit of God. Once we open our mouth to share the old message of Jesus Christ and eternity, God breathes life into our words as they penetrate the hearts of those that listen.
Rev. Constantin Lupancu together with the Blessed Hope International Mission Team