Haiti: Seventh-day Adventists Join in Weekend of Fasting and Prayer
Rebuilding process begins, slowly, in devastation’s wake
BY LIBNA LIZARDO STEVENS, Inter-American Division, reporting from Port-au-Prince, Haiti
ne month after the destructive earthquake that devastated parts of Haiti, Seventh-day Adventists joined the rest of the country on Sabbath, February 13, to mourn, fast, and pray. Among the more than 200,000 people lost during the quake, were more than 522 church members.
“I hope this event can help us all understand that we do not have any security in our own lives,” said Marcel Mercier, chaplain of Adventist University in Port-au-Prince, during a special memorial service. “Only by trusting God can we prepare ourselves to be ready for His coming.
The service featured Scripture readings, encouraging messages, and special music by the Earthquake Choir, a small ensemble from the university campus. The program also included testimonies from those who had survived the violent destruction of the earthquake.
“I had got up from praying that day and left to go to my little shop,” said a woman from the Morija Adventist Church in Diquini as a small girl clung to her leg. “I was impressed not to go home early.” She went on to explain that during the earthquake, she prayed to God for her daughter who was at home. “God saved my life and I thank Him for His goodness.”
“I don’t even know how I fell on the ground,” testified a young man. “I remember screaming, ‘Jesus, Jesus, save me please,’ as I heard the noise of the buildings collapse. From then on I gave my entire life to God so that I can serve Him.”
Dozens of children from the camp lined up and marched with green-and-white balloons symbolizing hope and a better future. Messages of hope were also heard throughout hundreds of Adventist churches in the country.
It was not only a time of mourning for the one member who was killed in the temple at the Bible Auditorium and 17 other members reported dead; it was also a day of celebration packed with Scripture readings, music, prayers, and thanksgiving.
“We are still alive and we still have to keep the mission God has planned for us,” Antoine said.
At Ebenezer church, hundreds gathered to worship on the special Sabbath. A few people were inside the building that had visible cracks, but most were outside under blue hanging tarps.
“We have some 400 people who are living on our property,” said Pastor Pierre Jean Louis Jean, who leads the 800-member Ebenezer church. “Some are strong and some are very weak, but we try to encourage them to have hope in God because the Lord is always with us even with our problems. He will help resolve them.”
There is visible joy as the members worship.
“We are always happy,” said Louis Jean. “We are happy in suffering; we are people of hope even if we are hurting.”