Beraca Baptist Church being a Blessing to their Local Community and to Disaster Victims in Haiti

FROM R. K.’S CORNER

In June last year, I traveled to New York City for a week to sit by the bed of a dear, longstanding friend, Goldie Rotenberg, who was struggling through the last stages of cancer. Sadly, she died a few days after I left.

While in the City, I spent a day with Jeanette Felix, Founder of Children in Need Haitian Project (CNHP) and her co-Director, Sharon Cushing. They are doing a vital work in the mountain region South-East of Port-au-Prince, providing a Bible-based excellent education for the local community’s children grades K through 8. They serve in many other practical ways to help the people rise out of poverty and become healthy, productive families, utilizing the local resources available. The Bridge has at times helped sponsor the school.

View from the CNHP school in the mountains of Haiti

In October, 2016, Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti. It destroyed the mountain farmers’ harvest, and ruined many of their homes. Our donors gave generously both then and in 2017 toward relief aid for the island, which we have divided between several partnering ministries serving in Haiti. Of the $2500 given through CNHP, $1000 helped rebuild the home of one of the school’s workers, and another $1000 toward helping the farmers restocking their seed bank for the planting of crops for the upcoming season’s harvest.  See former Bridge posts on this:

http://www.bridgeinternational.org/2016/10/

Shortly thereafter, Jeanette called me. The mountain farmers had pulled together and were in the process of solving their problems without help from the outside. Would I mind that the Bridge funds given to the mountain farmers through CNHP be directed to another ministry, Beraca Baptist Church, an American-Haitian church in Brooklyn, NY? They have for a number of years successfully been engaged in serving the people of Haiti (Beraca means “Blessing”). With the Bible in one hand, and hammer and plow in the other, they are empowering local people in several communities, like the city of Jeremie, located on the tip of the peninsula to the West of Port-au-Prince. Hurricane Matthew had done landfall there and literally obliterated the city and large swaths of the surrounding countryside. Without clean water, food, and shelter, the people were desperate. Beraca received the funds, due to Jeanette and Sharon’s unselfish generosity in helping those in worse condition than their mountain people. It was used toward the Reforestation Program in Haiti—see report below.

With Pastor Jean-Pierre

The day I visited CNHP, Sharon had set up a meeting with the leaders at Beraca Church. We drove to Brooklyn where we met the Senior Pastor, Mullery Jean-Pierre and two of his co-pastors. There was an immediate rapport between us, as we found we shared like vision and practical approach to serving the Gospel in the nations— it was like meeting family members we had just discovered existed! I gave them another $3000 from one of our generous donors to be used toward their ministry toward single mothers and their children left destitute after the hurricane—see report. In this issue, I present Beraca Baptist Church and their extraordinary outreaches of love to their local community and to Haiti.

VISITING BERACA BAPTIST CHURCH IN BROOKLYN, NY

Le Marron Inconnu—The Unknown Slave, is a bronze statue of a runaway slave, located in front of the Parliament in the capital of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Commemorating the abolishment of slavery, the statue was completed in 1967, and serves as a reminder of the call to rebellion in the colony of Saint-Domingue against the slave-holding France in 1791. It has become the iconic symbol of freedom in Haiti, as well as black people worldwide.

Mini-Replica of Le Marron Innconnu

“What a stunning sculpture!” I exclaimed, “what a vivid symbol of a thirsty man lifting his face toward God and drinking from the Living Water!” Pastor Jean-Pierre smiled, “ That is not exactly the symbolism of this carving”, he explained. During a meeting with him, two of his co-pastors, and Sharon from CNHP who had introduced us, I had been captivated by this expressive wooden carving sitting on the cabinet in his office, not knowing it was a replica of the original statue located in Port-au-Prince in Haiti, which represents the call to rebellion against slavery— see above. “I have never heard this interpretation before. You actually see the Haitian people through the eyes of God’s heart—I believe this  belongs to you, R.K. “ – and with those words, he gave the mini-replica to me. I am honored to have it displayed in our living room as a reminder of the physical and spiritual thirst of those we serve among the peoples of color in the nations.

I believe this gesture of generosity characterizes Pastor Jean-Pierre’s heart which is permeated by Jesus’ love and care for people. He is a Haitian in America who has not forgotten the cry of his own people in Haiti, nor in his city in New York, as he and his team are successfully accomplishing extraordinary things for God in both places!

PASTOR MULLERY JEAN-PIERRE AND HIS TEAM REACHING OUT WITH FAITH, LOVE, AND  HOPE TO THEIR COMMUNITY AND TO HAITI 

Pastor Mullery Jean-Pierre (center) and two of his co-pastors

Mullery Jean-Pierre, Senior Pastor of Beraca Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY was born in Haiti to a Haitian father and a Dominican mother. He and his Jamaican wife, Cacheta have six children and seven grandchildren.

Having a Puerto Rican daughter-in-law, an African American son-in-law and a Trinidadian sister-in-law, Mullery feels right at home in leading a multicultural congregation. Under his leadership the church has grown from 80 members to 1200 worshippers; although a predominantly Haitian/Haitian-American church, Beraca is home to 17 other different nationalities.

When Mullery was called out of corporate America, he left his management position at a Wall Street firm and never looked back. Those years prepared him for the many administrative leadership positions to which God has called him to serve.

As Mullery’s desire to reach the community grew, He founded the Beraca Community Development Corporation (BCDC). With his church family, the services to the local community include:

  • Youth development programs.
  • A food pantry.
  • Serving seniors at a local Seniors Adult day care center.
  • Partnering with their local high school to provide employment and mentoring for the students.
  • Partnering with the Districts Attorney’s office’s Alternative Sentencing Program, providing alternative forms of rehabilitation to those who’ve committed misdemeanor or petty crimes.

After the January 12, 2010 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti, Mullery and his team extended BCDC from NY to Haiti, where they currently serve the cities of Leogane, Cabaret, Jeremie and Cape Haitian with the outreaches:

  • Training and mentoring Pastors and leaders. They are currently training 1700 leaders.
  • Creating and sustaining approximately 400 jobs through their motorcycle taxis, micro-lending and mini bus services.
  • Conducting mobile medical clinics, bringing healthcare to thousands of underserved Haitians through the local churches in their communities.
  • Training and equipping teachers and principals, providing a good education to their students by the use of certified U.S. Haitian-American teachers.
  • Planting churches that are the hubs for spiritual and socio-economic health and development in the Haitian communities.

The event of Hurricane Matthew not only devastated the region, but also caused food shortages throughout the nation. BCDC began networking with some churches in the area to re-plant what the hurricane destroyed, which now includes hundreds of churches. The Reforestation Project focuses on replanting trees in the denuded countryside to help avoid the continued massive erosion of cultivated land in the region. It is known as the breadbasket of the country, as a good portion of the crops that feed Haiti are grown there.

Teams from Beraca keep traveling to Haiti with needy material, tools, and supplies, and work in partnership with Haitian believers in rebuilding church buildings, community centers, and homes that have been destroyed by the hurricane.

During our meeting, Mullery told us about a ministry which began during one of his trips to Haiti with two of his co-pastors overseeing and participating in various restoration projects. While walking in the streets, women approached and propositioned them. They were told by the local people that literally thousands of women with children have been left destitute after the disaster, either because they are single mothers, or their husbands have left them to go elsewhere to seek for jobs, but then never to return home.

With the community in shambles, no available jobs, food supply or clean water, the women have been forced into the streets to sell the only commodity they have left—their own bodies—to provide just morsels for their family to fend off starvation.

The pastors accepted their offer and paid for two hours of service. However, instead of taking advantage of these desperate women, without condemning them, they gave them food and shared the Gospel—the good news, with emphasis on how much God loves them. They were then offered a basic course in reading and writing. The women willing and committed to change, were then offered training in an income-producing cottage industry. This takes them off the street, regains their dignity and makes them able to provide for themselves and their children. This unique street ministry continues as an outreach by local believers, whereby hundreds of women have experienced the transforming power of the Gospel which has given them a new hope and a future and brought them into a caring community of believers!

The leaders and members of the church family at Beraca live up to its name — BLESSING! They are indeed a blessing to those who encounter God’s love in action through them!

“The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to Him.” D. l. Moody

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Annual

DEAR FRIENDS AND PARTNERS,

The year was 1983. While traveling through the “Valley of Roses” in Bulgaria, I had a vision… a picture of a large bridge reaching from the United States, across Europe and Russia—deep into Central Asia, at that time only known as the foreboding Soviet Gulag. This bridge consisted of living stones — of people with the same purpose of heart and mind: help resource the suffering church living under the oppressive Stalinist communist regime behind the then Iron Curtain. The message was simple: “Return to the States and BE A BRIDGE… don’t build one.” The motto was clear, “Linking God’s People to Reach the Unreached”, with the underpinning Scripture verses from 2 Corinthians 9:9-15, “…As it is written, He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’ He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness…“ Upon my return to the States that fall, with help of my local church, The Bridge was launched.

The following year, while writing a summary of the ministry’s activities in the very first Annual Bridge Report, I remember being in tears, overwhelmed and humbled in thanks to God for the generosity of our newfound Stateside partners — a group of people who enthusiastically and sacrificially joined us in our labor to make the vision a reality. Their prayers and financial donations helped build the initial supply routes through which we have been bridging resources to the pioneer mission fields abroad. Over the decades, new partners joined us; together, we helped enable young believers in the nations to grow in faith and knowledge of the Word of God, become more effective in pioneer evangelism, church planting and church leadership, embrace Jesus’ call to make disciples, and reach out to the needy in their local communities through a variety of mercy ministries. We came alongside and helped them in their sowing, planting, and watering—always with the awareness that the growth comes from the Lord, alone, through the love and power of His Spirit! Gradually, the indigenous believers matured, developed their own ministries, and in many cases became financially independent from The Bridge. Our role changed from overseers to equal ministry partners. We call them, in addition to various other like-minded ministers with whom we cooperate in the mission field, HARVESTERS.

Today, thirty five years, more than 10 million dollars distributed, and thousands of transformed lives later on four continents, I am again summarizing the Annual Bridge Report with the same sense of deep gratitude and humility at the privilege of serving the Lord with so many dedicated partners on the home front, and faithful Harvesters abroad.

Those who contribute to The Bridge in 2017, have received this report with a donor statement as the official contribution receipt to their postal address . The Bridge International, Inc. is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a non-profit, 501(c)(3) religious organization with EIN no. 65-0100609; any contribution you give is exempt from Federal Taxes.

2017 IN REVIEW — THE PRAYER TEAM

A group of people I have not mentioned above, is a few individuals whom I want to specifically thank and honor: the members of The Bridge Prayer Team. They are a handful of individuals who have been longstanding friends of ours. Each of them are strong individualists who live in diverse states—Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Texas, but they have one thing in common: they feel called by God to watch and pray for the Body of Christ in the nations, and have made themselves available to do the heavy lifting of prayer and intercession for The Bridge – our family, our Stateside partners, the Harvesters in the field, and the church at large. We all meet online once every two weeks to share updates, concerns, prayer requests, and testimonies of answered prayers. They also meet and pray several times a week. They are a blessing to us all, especially to Steve and me at this time, as he is again struggling through some serious health issues.

2017 IN REVIEW – THE HARVESTERS

In November, we published pictures of some of the Harvesters we sponsor and the countries where they serve. They represent only those who have chosen to live and minister openly as followers of Jesus Christ. Others who live in closed or hostile nations to the Gospel and work clandestinely underground, are for security reasons not mentioned in our publications. Characteristic of all the Harvesters are their clarity of vision, personal sacrifices, courage and endurance; standing in faith in face of serious setbacks and apparent insurmountable problems.

They all sense the importance of seeing new believers be transformed into disciples of Jesus and provide them one-on-one mentoring toward leadership through serious, solid Bible teaching and life groups; the emphasis being on cultivating a personal relationship with God and with one another.

If you want to know more about the individual Harvesters and the Projects we sponsor, you will find the information under RECENT POSTS and ARCHIVE on the right sidebar, and earlier issues of The Bridge Report under the PDF ARCHIVE on the horizontal bar at the top.

2017 IN REVIEW — SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS

Varughese Mathew and his wife continue to labor among the orphans in their two orphanages and various unreached indigenous peoples on the Indian Andaman Islands.  Following is an example of an urgent, practical need being met by a donation received from one of our partners. Varughese contacted us and let us know the old freezers in their two orphanages used to store meat and fish bought once a week, were broken, resulting in rotten food that had to be discarded. “Could you help us purchase two new freezers?” Due to our partner’s generosity, the immediate answer was, “Yes—the money is on its way!”

Dawa Buthia, an ethnic Tibetan and former Buddhist from Bhutan, founder and leader of Himalayan Good News Networking Ministry has raised up hundreds of pioneer who are now evangelists and church planters spread out into some of the cities and also villages in the more remote Himalayan mountains between Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Tibet. A couple of generous gifts enabled us to help fund their Bible Training Center and resource some of the poorest Bhutanese mountain pastors.

Sargon Daniali is in the midst of a fruitful harvesting field among his Iranian people in Turkey and beyond.  There are again demonstrations in the streets of Tehran and other cities against the oppressive Islamic regime; this time the people are less fearful, and more expressive, indicating there is a spiritual hunger in the nation for a new reality. The Bridge has provided Sargon 1,000 Farsi Bibles, and another ministry has given him 20,000 for distribution. Sargon’s online Bible teaching course is progressing very well. He also serves many Turkish churches, and conducted several leadership conferences among Iranian and Turkish believers. His team has translated an excellent book on God’s Covenant from English to Farsi.

Through Sargon, we were introduced to a very effective Christian drug rehab center for Russians and Ukrainians in Istanbul. The Bridge financed an agricultural project (chickens, rabbits, vegetables, fruit trees) which might help the center toward the goal of becoming financially self-sufficient.

Yermek Balykbekov in Karaganda, Kazakhstan is pastoring less at the Sunday services of the larger Russian church – rather focusing more on individual discipling and leadership training among his own Kazakh people. He participated in several leadership conferences in Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, the latter being life-changing. In spite of severe persecution of Christian believers, Yermek met a flock of courageous, fearless, mature leaders, who oversee over 800 underground home-groups in the country, and they are growing!

In Kyrgyzstan, Rustam and Zamira have had a number of fruitful outreaches among children of Muslim and Gypsy families. Just before Christmas, they visited several towns near the Tajik border and presented the Gospel via the Christmas story to people who had never heard—the enthusiastic responses both among the adults and children were very encouraging!  an Afghan living in the capital of Bishkek, has so matured in faith while waiting in line for an exit visa to immigrate to a Western country. During this time, the Lord has brought him into a powerful ministry to fellow students, guiding him to present the Gospel through the Qu’aran (Koran).

In Afghanistan a friend is doing an outstanding service in building a community center based on Biblical principles for a local community. The team’s outreach of love and care are touching many people’s hearts –and there is spiritual fruit!

A larger gift designated to relief in Haiti enabled us to send funds through two ministry partners who are effectively rebuilding the lives and communities still recovering from the some of the areas most devastated by hurricane Matthew—more about that in an upcoming report.

In Bosnia, Robert and Sandrina Jurjevich keep on serving the Muslim community in Sarajevo. They had to leave the facility rented for the church and community center, but are in the process of obtaining the ownership of another building which will also include the Woman’s Center led by Sandrina.

A Harvester team dear to our hearts have been called to show up at their city’s airport and meet visitors on incoming flights from the Middle East with Gospel tracts and a video in their own languages. They also spend months walking through immigrant communities in large cities of Europe, going from door-to-door while delivering their literature—hardship and testimonies are their portion! We help with the literature printing.

In South Sudan, we sent funds for a water line to supply fresh water to William Levi’s ministry center on Gordon mountain near the city of Nimule in the southern part of the country. We continue to sponsor Matthew Deng Dut and some of his projects in the capital of Juba. South Sudan is one of the most unstable and volatile places on earth! Undeterred by many obstacles, they and others (the Kuj family in Tonj, and the Starks in Juba) continue faithfully to build community and rebuild people’s lives, even in face war and threats of war!

The Cowley family continue to serve the Pastors of the Least in the slums in Nairobi, Kenya , by teaching and discipling them through their Disciple Support Bible Institute. Every year, the student body grows in numbers and depth of Bible knowledge — they learn to live the Gospel, not just preach it!

Thanks, again, for participating with us in raising the banner of Jesus

Who is the Light in  a very dark world!