"There are no more chains on my wrists but they are still chains in my mind."
Wednesday, June 21, 2023
I was talking with one of our friends about our work in Haiti. He was asking what changes had or were taking place that were making a difference in the people we have been working with.
He knew many changes were easily seen but wondered what deeper changes had occurred. I wanted to share some of the amazing changes and some stories we have seen with you.
Many people entering new cultures prefer to do things themselves how they are used to or know how to do them. It is a less frustrating way to accomplish something. Doing it yourself is an easier way to get something done how you want it done and quickly. An example would be teaching your child how to clean a bathroom or balance a bank account. It is way faster to just do it for them. But it does not teach them life skills. We felt strongly that we were to come alongside the people of Haiti and help them to help themselves. To us, this meant to explain, model, teach and impart. It also meant not just having Haitians be workers but leaders. It meant helping them discover their skills and giftings. It meant changing how they think and see life.
A simple example of this is problem-solving. In school growing up I used to hate story problems in math. I see the value of them now. Haitian education does not include any type of problem-solving skills. Subjects are taught through lectures and rote memory. There is no reason for a government that is trying to oppress a population to teach people problem-solving skills. They do not want people to think out of the box. When I realized this we started implementing real-life situation story problems into our schools.
Early on as we were finishing our Children’s Village I asked one of the women who had been helping with the children, what they wanted to do in the village. She did not understand, so I said as an example, she could be a nanny, a cook, or a worship leader. She said to just tell her what she was supposed to do, she did not understand the concept of having a choice. Having a voice was new to her. So one of the things we model and teach is that women and children have value.
Some of the things that were frustrating in the beginning were easier to understand as we learned more about the culture. An example of this is why you would put oil in your car, gas makes it go. Oil costs money and doesn’t make the car run unless you understand how an engine works. Cars were mostly owned by the wealthy or foreigners when we first were in Haiti. Eventually, tap-taps and moto’s became more available and things changed.
Another area we experienced changed thinking needing to happen was in business principles among the poorer people. You may remember my telling the story of Kalano and his wife, Francesca. Kalano and his wife started asking questions about our family and our faith in Jesus. Mike answered the questions as they came and then one day he asked if they were interested in Jesus, why they did not go to church. Their answer was a common one, "everyone says we cannot go because we do not have any clothes nice enough for church". Mike told them that they could come to any of the churches in our ministry, no matter what clothes they had on.
They shared that they each had a child from another relationship and that their youngest child was both of theirs. We assured them that God was a God of forgiveness and acceptance. They shared that they struggled to find jobs and that they felt their lives were a mess. Over the next day or two they decide that they wanted to give their lives to Jesus. Mike shared the life-giving gospel message with them. They accepted Christ into their lives and asked if they could go to church with us. They went with us the next Sunday and loved it. They came forward for prayer, and the healing started.
The next thing they asked was if they could get married so that they would be right with God. They also started reading the bible. This is huge, as Kalano was not educated and could not read or write other than sign his name. But in his hunger and passion to know God more, God in his mercy allowed Kalano to read and understand the bible. He still couldn’t read anything else.
God had also given Kalano a passion to learn and a sense of business. A little while later, Kalano asked if he could open the boutique that came with our house. It has been closed since we moved into the house. It was a room about 6 feet by 8 feet. There were two 500-gallon water tanks above the room, set up for a purified water business that had a window opening to the street to sell through. We decided to take a risk and invest in them to start a business selling food items, toiletries, and purified water. We taught them basic business principles, each evening they brought the money to us and we put it in different envelopes, for savings, reinvestment in products, and salary. After He and his wife had been running the shop for a month we gave them the envelope for their salary and Kalano said he could not take charity after all we had done for him. When we explained that he had earned it, this was their salary he started to cry with joy and unbelief. They were the first we taught business principles to, this is now done on a larger scale.
Minds are changed, which changes lives, which changes communities, which will change nations.
When a people group is living a survival lifestyle, their focus rightly so, becomes living day-to-day, not long-term focused or big picture focused. So trying to get people to understand dreams and visions and how to get there is a foreign concept. It takes meeting their initial needs and then showing, teaching along with experiencing new things to help someone even entertain the possibilities that life holds.
When we first started ministering in Haiti Mike would hold pastors’ conferences and many would come, but we did not see fruit. We did not understand that they saw the conferences as a form of entertainment and status. They did not understand what was being shared was meant to be applied and taught in their churches. So we stopped holding the conferences for a few years. Mike gathered 12 men and met with them, he taught them, modeled servanthood to them, refused to sit on stage in places of honor, and walked with them doing life together. One afternoon about three years into this time one of the men, Kael, came running to see Mike, you may remember reading about him in a prayer partner. Kael endeared himself to Mike early on in the ministry by being the one running to him and saying, "Pastor Mike, I can't believe that I have lived this long without understanding all that Jesus has done for me and that He wants to have a personal relationship with me, WITH ME; CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!" Kael was one of the first pastors to get it. He greatly helped the others to understand that truth. Not long after that Mike began holding pastors’ conferences again, and the fruit was and has been incredible.
We as first-world people versus third-world people mostly US, Canadian, and French have modeled over history that we come and give relief, we have the money and the resources, we are the givers, and the poor and needy are supposed to receive. This is an important first emergency response, but we need to move on from there. We need to help with rehabilitation and community development. When we continue in this relief stage it creates dependence and not independence. It takes away self-worth and identity. It does not create people who understand they have an identity, gifts, skills, and talents that are God-given.
We have been witness to the people we have invested in being transformed. We believe that following what Christ modeled to us, investing in a small group well is the most effective way to change a life, a family, a community, and a nation.
This fall we are hoping to open our school for pastors and leaders. We believe it will be another step in transforming the minds of pastors and leaders. It will be a bible school, but one that also teaches their identity in Christ, how to be in God’s presence, and how to hear Him. How to learn, understand and walk in their God-given giftings. Also, how to exhort, encourage and build each other up. The second year will build on this and will also teach leadership skills.
These are some of the deeper amazing changes we have been blessed to be a part of and we believe will change the people of Haiti. We are so thankful you have come alongside us and helped the people of Haiti.
Monday, March 20, 2023
We wanted to thank you for all of your prayers for the revival of Perou and their 13th Anniversary celebration. We appreciated your coming alongside the people in the rural village of Perou. There were an additional 15 salvations during the revival. God is moving in Perou. We are so excited to see Him move so powerfully in the villagers' lives.
I am enclosing some photos of the celebration and baptisms please enjoy them and please continue to pray for the new believers.
Friday, March 10, 2023
Spring is just around the corner. We pray this letter finds you well and fills you with hope as you read it. We wanted to share some news, request some prayers, share some testimonies, and thank you for your faithful prayers.
God has been moving in the village of Perou. There have been 10 salvations this week and over the past 4 weeks there have been over 30 additional salvations. This Sunday, March 12th, we will be celebrating 13 years of ministering in the rural village of Perou. We will be having a huge celebration, including a baptism of almost 30 people. They will also be holding a week of revival meetings starting this Sunday. We would appreciate your prayers for soft hearts and many more salvations. I have included many photos from our beginning years in Perou near the bottom of the page. I would like to share a couple of testimonies also.
The first testimony is from Oliamise. She has been a Christian for 5 or 6 months. She says she is about 60 years old. Before coming to our church in Perou she said that she used to go to a cold church. She would bring her crippled brother with her. But the church was so far away that it became too difficult to keep going there. So she started attending our Life-Giving Church Bon Berger in Perou. When asked if there is any difference in the churches, she exclaimed, "Oh absolutely! Since being part of this new church, I feel I have a burning fire inside of me. I feel solid when laying down on my bed, I have an appetite and I pray every night to push back the demons and the devil". She says she no longer does rara, or makes pilgrimages for satan and she does not go to the witch doctor anymore. She has been a widow for 21 years and has 5 children. She gardens for a living, cleans for her neighbor and sells small cans of charcoal. She has been baptized and received a bible. She says she knows some psalms to fight satan with. Please lift up Oliamise in prayer, as she grows in the Lord, and for her health, she says she has a lot of headaches and can not hear people even when they talk loudly.
Another testimony I would like to share is from Davidson. He is 23 years old. His father died when he was a small child. Before coming to Jesus he was involved in the wrong things. He went to witch doctors, smoked drugs, drank, gambled, and stole. He says now he no longer has a love for the world. He feels God's hand on him. He no longer steals, but gardens for other people as a living. He cannot read or write and asks for prayers for nightmares at night. He believes he will have victory. He says he has been given a bible and taught how to pray. Please lift up Davidson also, and pray for him to be able to learn to read and grow in the Lord.
We want to thank you for coming alongside the people of Haiti and faithfully praying.
Donkeys or mules are tied to the long poles on the side. Then they walk around and around as sugar cane is put through the rollers.
Sunday, March 5, 2023
I want to share a vision with you and ask you to join us in prayer. We value your prayers and know they can move mountains.
It has been on our hearts for many years now to have an in-depth way to teach the pastors and leaders in Haiti the life-giving message of the Gospels. We would like to help them help their people understand the grace of God. The majority of churches in Haiti are very religious, requiring the people to follow the regulations and rules. It took us a little over 3 years to have breakthrough in this area with our pastors and leaders.
As we plant new churches we are finding the need to go back to the beginning over and over. Mike has had the vision of a school for pastors and leaders so that we can impart to pastors and leaders life-giving teachings, along with biblical understanding. Ensuring that they are all building from the same foundation. Having a school like this would also allow for a greater depth of teaching than our once-a-month current teachings.
We are in the process of creating a curriculum. We would greatly appreciate your prayers for this and also for the logistical part of starting a school for pastors and leaders.
Thank you so much and Blessings,
We want to thank you so much for all of your prayers for Izmaly. Some of you have been asking how Izmaly is doing. She has been released from the hospital and is happily back in the Children's Village. She no longer has a fever or infection. Prayer along with antibiotics and hydration by IV has her back and smiling again. Praise God! Thank you for partnering with us for Izmaly's healing.
Blessings, Chris and Mike
We need your prayers for Izmally one of the girls from our Children's Village. She is in the hospital and she is very dehydrated and has a fever. She also has an infection in her leg, but no external wound. Please keep her in your prayers.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
As we ring in the new year with happy anticipation, we want to say with great joy, how grateful we are for this passing year. 2022 was a very difficult year for Haiti and its people, to say the least. There were times of fear from gangs and demonstrations. Times of hunger from lack of food, water, and gas. Times of despair from the continual bad news of the conditions in Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti. Times of desperation from the lack of assistance from other nations that usually help Haiti. But there were also times of perseverance that brought about a new resilience to all these difficulties. Times of community where people began looking after each other more than before. And there were times of turning back to God, because of the realization that this world will fail us, but God, who is rich in love and mercy will never fail us...
In so many respects, 2022 was a great year for New Generation Ministries, and you are the real heroes for it. In this current economy, many nonprofits are suffering from lower giving than usual, but by the grace of God and your desire to partner with us to see the Haitian people become self-sustaining, rising from the grip of poverty, and providing for their own families, your investment is paying great dividends in return. Despite the overwhelming odds against the poor in Haiti, many families are better because of you.
Church attendance is way up. School is in full attendance. The Good Shepherd Children's Village has achieved the highest grade for orphanages for the 10th straight year. The Medical Care Clinic still serves the sick and hurt, even when the streets are unsafe. I have been hosting conferences for pastors and leaders via Zoom, and it is working well, and being received well. Our Life-Giving churches are more relevant to the needs of their communities than ever before...
We are truly grateful for 2022. And we are truly grateful for you, coming alongside the people of Haiti to help them help their own to a better, more sustainable life in Jesus Christ.
Now we can shout for the HAPPY NEW YEAR 2023, to bring even greater increase as we focus on Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith...
Mike and Chris Leland
I wanted to share an encouraging story, with you. The story is about a man named Carlo.
As a young man, Carlo was a plumber and had been trained in agriculture. But he started dancing in Rara's, (a voodoo party in parade form). Carlo shared that after that Satan persecuted him and kept asking him to do things, so between 2015 and 2021 he bought witchcraft things and paid for services from mystical people till he obtained a mystic room himself. He shared that his life started being very hard, difficult, and troubled when he made that decision.
Three months ago Carlo came to the Lord in Denonville. Since then Carlo has denounced voodoo and burned his voodoo paraphernalia. He says that after deciding to follow Jesus he realizes things are different and better. He has taken responsibility for his 9-year-old son. He also just married the woman who is pregnant with his next child. And he wants to be baptized. He asks us to pray for him to have the strength and power to walk a good life.
We also wanted to share with you some of our year-end updates.
New Generation Ministries is better because of you!
Because you cared as much as we do about the poor and the lost in Haiti. Because you partnered with us to reach out to those in need. Because you prayed for them. Because you sacrificed for them. Because you believed. Because of you, life is better for thousands of Haitian men, women, and families.
We strongly believe that the poor and oppressed in Haiti can find a new and sustainable life, with just a little help. Not a hand-out, but a helping hand-up. This year we have seen:
- 1050 new believers in Jesus Christ
- 890 have been baptized
- 1260 students have attended tuition-free school
- Over 2050 patients have received medical attention
- 62 orphans and 11 nannies are being cared for
- 2 new clean water wells have been drilled
- Over 1600 people attend our Life-Giving Churches weekly
- Thousands are receiving food weekly
Thank you for believing in the people of Haiti, as we do......
We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Hope this letter finds you well. We want to thank you for all of your faithful prayers. We are so very grateful for your coming alongside us and the people of Haiti.
We are also thrilled to be able to share some good news with you. In spite of the hard times in Haiti recently, or maybe because of the hard times, our churches have experienced hundreds of new believers giving their lives to the Lord. Some of our churches have doubled in size in the last couple of months. Because of this, we have a wonderful problem. We need to get bibles into the hands of these precious new believers. We have been able to purchase some Bibles, but we need many more. Please consider blessing some of these new believers with a bible for Christmas. We are able to buy a full Bible for $20 or a New Testament Bible with Psalms for $3.
We have two other opportunities that we are focusing on this Christmas. We would like to get each of the children in the Children's Village a set of new clothes and a pair of shoes for $30.
We are also raising money to dig more Solar Powered High Volume, Agricultural Wells. Each of these specialty wells costs $20,000.
We would greatly appreciate your help blessing the people of Haiti with these items for Christmas.
We love and appreciate each one of you, we are so honored by your coming alongside us and helping the people of Haiti.
Blessings this Christmas,
Mike and Chris
Chris and I along with the Board Members of New Generation Ministries, serving the orphans, the poor, and the lost in Haiti, want to say; "HAPPY THANKSGIVING" to all of you, who are the ones who really make new life happen for them. Thank you so very much...
May God's Blessings be on you, throughout this holiday season...Mike and Chris Leland
Sunday, November 13, 2022
"Happy Orphan Sunday."
Today is the day that churches all around the world recognize as "Orphan Sunday." A day set aside to pray for, and recognize the vulnerable plight of orphans and Foster Care children in every nation.
As Christians our Father in Heaven assures us that; "He has not left us as orphans, He will come for us. Because He lives, we also will live." (John 14:18-20)
We have a Heavenly Father who loves us and has made a way for us. He has given us new life, yes, eternal life in His son, Jesus.
Please watch this new video that we just completed, (see the link below), and pray for the 62 orphans in "The Good Shepherd Children's Village" in Haiti and orphans and Foster Care children worldwide.
Thank you and bless you for doing your part in helping Orphans and Foster Children.
Blessings, Mike and Chris Leland