A Vision of the Kingdom of God
Land of Mountains
From an airplane, the first glimpse of Haiti is one of mountain after mountain, a fitting view since “Haiti” literally means “land of mountains.” Even more fitting are the words Haitians use to describe the country’s experience among the world’s powers (as well as the country’s geography): “Dèyè mòn gen mòn” or “behind mountains are more mountains.” Just when you think you have scaled one mountain, you realize more mountains remain ahead of you.
In Haiti, the first and only country in the world created through a successful slave revolution, the meddling of the Western powers of the world have, more often than not, made life difficult for the Haitians, whether through blockades, an indemnity forced upon them by their former colonizers, or the U.S. takeover of Haiti’s government from 1915 to 1934. Many unbecoming things have been printed about Haiti and its residents in the past and still today; Haiti has been put down by foe and “friend” alike. Yet, if this were the only picture that one had of Haiti and her citizens, it would be incredibly incomplete. Haitians—like any people—have their fair share of challenges, but they also have many good things happening as well. It is in this context, in this country, that the Haitian Timoun Foundation works and partners with people, as witnesses to the Kingdom of God, so that all may have abundant life.
Our group of nine seminary students, three church members, one pastor, and one seminary president came to Haiti to see and experience a number of ministries supported by the Haitian Timoun Foundation (HTF). In Creole, “timoun” means “children,” and so, each of these ministries supported by HTF, in some way, benefits the lives of Haiti’s children. HTF visits each ministry multiple times a year, allowing for the formation of real solidarity and real friendships. Each ministry is already led by or ultimately will be led by Haitians, since it is through the Haitians themselves that Haiti will thrive. We came to Haiti to learn about authentic relationship, real solidarity, visionary leadership, and what it means to have a missional mindset. There were plenty of examples of all of these, yet what stands out the most is the relationship aspect of working with the people of Haiti, the experience of getting to know them, and the idea that this communion is, indeed, a foretaste of the feast to come.
Our first stop on this journey was Wings of Hope, a home for children with disabilities. Many of the children at Wings of Hope were abandoned as babies. People found them and then delivered them to Wings of Hope. Thus, this is a place where those who are rejected become, in Christ, cornerstones of community life.