Radio is still one of the most effective avenues of mass communication to people in Haiti as they recover from the devastating earthquake in January 2010. Now, thanks to “Help Haiti” donations and the work of 12 volunteers from First CRC of Fremont, Mich., Back to God Ministries International (BTGMI) is able to reach even more people with words of hope from Scripture.
Shortly after the earthquake, French ministry leader Rev. Paul Mpindi began preparing special messages for the Haitian people. The initial response was encouraging. Nearly 2,000 listeners signed up for the BTGMI Bible study course. But Mpindi realized BTGMI was missing a large segment of the population whose first language is not French, but Creole.
“Programs in the Creole language would speak the good news of the gospel in the ‘heart language’ of the vast majority of the population,” notes BTGMI director Rev. Bob Heerspink.
“Haitians are still feeling the aftershocks of the earthquake today, both emotionally and spiritually,” reports Lesley Millar Toussaint, CRC World Missions staff member who helps coordinate the Bible study program for BTGMI.
Working with BTGMI Haitian staff, CRWM staff, and CRWRC representatives, Rev. Zachary King, CRWM church and leadership developer, proposed a plan to translate messages of encouragement into Creole to more effectively reach people still suffering. In order to accomplish that, the Haitian ministry needed a recording studio in Port-au-Prince.
That’s where the Fremont volunteers stepped in. Rev. King mentioned this need to his supporters at First CRC. “We’ve all had a heart for ministry to those who are underprivileged,” said Steve Breuker, one of the Fremont volunteers whose group has made several mission trips to the Caribbean to work on construction projects. “Following the earthquake, we all decided God was calling us to go to Haiti.”
The volunteers—among them four carpenters—hauled computers, speakers, and recording equipment with them, and spent eight days transforming a room in the Haitian CRC ministry center into a soundproof recording studio. Local electricians worked to get all the equipment up and running.
Through the “Help Haiti” fund, BTGMI was able to hire additional staff to provide spiritual counseling to those who respond to the broadcasts—an average of 1,500 people each month since the studio was completed. Other partners—including CRWRC and the Billy Graham Association—are also making use of the new studio to provide audio and video resources in Creole. “Our small investment is bearing significant fruit,” says Heerspink.
“We are preparing short advertising spots to let the public know about our counseling and pastoral care services,” Toussaint reports. “We really look forward to see how God will use this studio to advance the work in his kingdom here in Haiti.”