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Adelson Jean Philippe grew up as an orphan in Haiti.

As a deacon, Adelson Jean Philippe has developed programs to serve many others in Haiti.

Today he is 50, married, and the father of adult children. But he has not forgotten the hardship of growing up in poverty without parents.

Perhaps that’s why he became a deacon in Communité du Christ Church in the Carrefour neighborhood of Port-au-Prince.

World Renew has been working in Haiti since 1975. One of its primary ministries is to train church leaders such as Adelson in some of Haiti’s poorest neighborhoods so that they can better understand their role in caring for those in their communities.

This is done through a local partner called the Program for Training Diaconal Organizations (PWOFOD).

“Haiti is a very religious country,” said World Renew’s Lunise Cerin-Jules. “Church services are held several times a week, and people are committed to saving souls. Unfortunately, in many churches Christianity is tied to faith alone. There is little understanding of the need to care for people physically as well as spiritually. That is where PWOFOD comes in.”

Adelson went through a three-year diaconal training program, learning the importance of living out his Christian faith and gaining skills to address such needs as adult literacy and small-business training.

Then, in 2005, Communité Du Christ and several other churches in Carrefour received funding and support from World Renew to start a program to help congregations care for AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children.

Adelson and two other deacons formed a committee to oversee the project, also starting an adult literacy class for the parents and caregivers of the children.

Adelson was working to earn a living, but he spent much of his free time volunteering. At the project’s halfway point, the two other deacons quit, but Adelson remained committed.

When the project finished in late 2006, more than 100 children were benefiting from the program, and the churches were running three literacy centers for 40 parents.

Adelson then began to seek out scholarship funding at private schools so the children could continue their education. He also helped start literacy programs in eight new communities. Thanks to Adelson’s ministry, today there are 14 literacy centers serving 390 people.

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