When we go to places like Haut Garde to share the Gospel, some people say they don’t want to accept Jesus today, or they don’t have time to listen to us. But we leave them with a solar radio and then they listen to the Gospel all day long. Just last Sunday, a man turned up at church, saying he’d been listening to Radio 4VEH on the solar radio we had given him, and wanted to come to church and give his life to the Lord.”
— Pastor Job Vilma
Multiplying Communities of Faith Nurtured by Radio
About 15 years ago, an evangelism team visited Grison Garde, (north Haiti), an area heavily influenced by witch doctors. As the team shared the hope Jesus offers, four people gave their lives to the Lord. The team left behind solar radios tuned to Radio 4VEH to minister to families every day.
When Haitian pastor Job Vilma graduated from the One Mission Society-related Emmaus Biblical Seminary, the Lord led him to this small community of believers in Grison Garde.
He discovered that sure enough, as people there listened to the programs on their little radios, and were under a daily Gospel influence, that more and more people had come to the Lord. They gathered together around the radios to ‘have church’, to worship, learn and grow together, and were being discipled in their homes and fields as they listened to the radio. They asked Pastor Job to be their pastor, but said “You’re not our first pastor, though. Radio 4VEH was our first pastor.”
Equipped with new solar radios (tuned to Radio 4VEH, with audio New Testament in Haitian Creole) now available through Resounding Hope, Pastor Job has led believers from New Life Church to share their own experiences of stepping out of darkness into the light of Christ with people in the surrounding mountain villages.
“Now, you must go to Haut Garde,” Pastor Job was told, “because there’s no church there at all.” But reaching this community requires hiking three hours up the mountain, crossing streams on foot, and then hiking further up the mountain.
Armed with the Gospel and a small supply of radios, Pastor Job and co-laborers hiked up the mountain many times last year to Haut Garde, and led 50 people to the Lord. They left a solar radio with several households, and kept their promise to return and start a church so the people wouldn’t have to walk two hours (each way) to attend church.
“We need a church!”
When OMS Haiti field director Brett Bundy led a visiting Resounding Hope team from West Virginia up the mountain to Haut Garde, he said:
“We came to a cockfighting ring with some people waiting to go to work in a field. We presented the Gospel to them, and all six of the adults accepted Christ.
“As Pastor Job talked with the people, I said to the team, ‘Don’t miss this: we’re in a cockfighting ring that is about gambling, with a lot of Voodoo mixed in. There’s a bottle hanging directly above where the pastor is speaking right now—a bottle placed there to appease and attract the lwa (Voodoo spirits). And we are seeing six people come to know Christ RIGHT HERE.’
“And their biggest plea? ‘We need a church!’”
Through Resounding Hope and the vision of Pastor Job, Emmaus New Life Church of Haut Garde was planted in early 2014. A month after opening, there were a hundred people present. With about 50 regular attenders on Sundays, this church has planted two stations—small groups of 20-30 people meeting in other places during the week.
Boots on the ground for the Great Commission
And it’s just one more example of how microchips, solar and radio technologies combine with the outreach ministries of Radio 4VEH and Every Community for Christ (OMS’ church planting ministry) to be “boots on the ground” for the Great Commission—connecting often illiterate, isolated, Voodoo-background communities with the reading and teaching of God’s Word in their heart language, with songs of praise and worship, and with the community of Christ-followers in Haiti and beyond.
Can you help provide more radios as tools for evangelism, making disciples and planting churches in Haiti? Each gift of $60 will sponsor a solar radio to bless a Haitian family every day.
— Story featured in OMS Outreach magazine, Jan-Apr 2015 edition. Read more here.