On October 27, 2018, Pastor Pierre Rene Joseph and Pastor Vashni Cuvalay travelled from St. Maarten to Haiti for an eight-day humanitarian visit. The trip was made possible by a contribution of $10,000 (USD) from a committed member of the St. Eustatius Church, who shared the deep concern for reaching out with love.
Uncertainty hung over the proposed visit to Haiti since travel arrangements were difficult and expensive. However, with determination and the will to impact lives, they ventured on what has been termed a missionary visit. Advance arrangements were made through the efforts of Pastor Joseph, originally from Haiti, who presently serves on the island of St. Maarten.
“I expected it to be a very meaningful experience for me,” commented Pastor Cuvalay. “Having been the pastor of the Haitian Church on St. Maarten, I am aware of some of the struggles and sacrifice they are going through. This is an opportunity to give back to their people in an act of appreciation.”
The Adventist Church in Haiti continues to be the largest among the 24 unions, or major church regions, in Inter-America with over 459,000 members. The members on St. Maarten are proud of their home-church. What is meaningful about the visit is the fact that the members decided to visit areas of Aquin and Cavallon. Many of the members of the church in St. Maarten are from that area in Haiti. They visited the Bethlehem Church, Bethel Church, Derac Church, Derac Company and Saillant Company.
Pastor Joseph said, “We made donations to 240 families and to a church building. Each family received 2,500 Haitian gourdes. We donated 8,400 Haitian gourdes to the church building. Mission trips serve a dual purpose, at least at the minimum to bless others and to help people who are in a different situation than we are. You get so much when you do that. You help people where you’re going and get a big blessing in your own life.”
And, beyond helping out families in need, Joseph hopes the mission will encourage others to help those closer to home. “This is the second year the donor contributed to the needs of my homeland and I am happy,” said Pastor Joseph. “We pray it might inspire people to get more mission-minded in their own life. We believe that’s what Christ has asked us to do.”