Under a dark, smoky sky, drums beat loudly and voodoo worshipers sang rhythmic songs. But in the light of day, the drums were silent as members of the Christian Reformed Church of Haiti in Belladere filed along a dirt path and entered their new building, the Temple de Belladere.
Once inside, they began to praise God. Choirs sang and people prayed for a woman who wanted to become a Christian.
“I love this church. It makes me feel good about my relationship with God,” said Mariette Pigne, a young woman who is active in the Belladere church.
SON-BEAM International, a nondenominational ministry based in Jamestown, Mich., had drawn up plans for the new building and donated funds to help make it happen. Although the new building was shaken by the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan 12, it sustained no serious damage.
During the service, several ministers walked the aisles, praying fervently to rid the new structure of any evil spirits that might be lurking and to dedicate it as a sacred space for worship. People prayed along with the pastors, imploring God to take up residence in this simple building.
Christian Reformed World Missions missionary Zach Segaar-King attended the dedication service and was invited to preach. He spoke of how the Jews in the Old Testament were banished from their temple in Jerusalem and sent into exile for worshiping other gods. But God allowed them back and gave them the chance of a new beginning.
Rev. Luis Pellecer, director of Latin American ministries for World Missions, attended the service and was moved by the piety and perseverance of the people. “This church has many good and positive things to share,” Pellecer said. “I’m very impressed.”
The Belladere church is one of a handful of CRC of Haiti congregations spread out near the border with the Dominican Republic.
This story is part of a special series about how the Christian Reformed Church in North America is working with the people of Haiti in the wake of the January earthquake.