If you haven’t already heard, my dad is going to Haiti for 50 days!!! Here is a letter he wrote to his family and friends. Enjoy!

Haiti – Re-LENT-Less for the Kingdom of God

Adj. 1) Unyieldingly, Stern or Harsh. 2) Persistent. Webster’s II New Riverside Dictionary (Revised Edition).

Beginning Sunday February 19th through Tuesday April 10th, I will be on a Pilgrimage to the country of Haiti, specifically in the northern city of Pignon. There I will be in service to François Romelus and his wife Madame François, who work and oversee their Community Compound consisting of a Church; a school of 250+ students; a Women’s Vocational Training Sewing Center; and an Orphanage of 40+ children.

My connection to François and Madame is through my daughter and son-in-law Abby and Denny Bain, who have started Loving Haiti, a non-profit support organization under the parent organization Andando. For more information please go to: www.lovinghaiti.org.

This Pilgrimage consists of 50 days in Haiti, which will add include the 40 day Christian tradition of Lent. Lent originally was a period of preparation for those to be baptized at Easter. Lent has evolved into a time of penitence and self-examination, and as well, it is reflective of Christ’s wilderness experiences – fasting and resisting temptation prior to His public ministry.

As my Pastor Pete Kelley has said, “Our Lenten journey is one of repentance – that is, changing directions from self-serving patterns and a myopic focus toward the other-focused way of life of following Jesus. We follow Jesus in laying down ourselves for others and trust that the power that raised Jesus from the dead is enough to guide us in repentance and renewal. The intervention of God’s gracious Spirit makes life-long changes become possible.”

For me personally this Lent Season, I have been called to Haiti that I might come to better know and love God, by coming to know and love the Haitian people. Here, I will continue my life-long journey to be led and empowered by God’s Spirit, in changing my self-serving myopic-focus toward the others-focused way of following Christ. It is also here where I desire, as the scriptures say in Phil 3:10-11, to “… know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to His death; In order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

Jesus was relentless in His walk to do His Father’s will, and in His walk He was led and empowered by the Holy Spirit to secure the Kingdom of God and an inheritance for us of eternal life – life forever in perfect union with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – on behalf of every nation, tribe, people and tongue.

I personally invite you to join me on this Pilgrimage to Haiti through the following activities:

1) Prayer and Fasting – Of anything that’s between you and God that might be keeping Him from fulfilling His Purposes, Principles, and Priorities of His Kingdom in you.

2) Reading and Meditating – The Temptation of Jesus; Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; & Luke 4:1-13.

3) Giving – “and this not as we expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.” 2 Cor. 8:5. And look for ways to “cheerfully” give to the needs of others less fortunate, 2 Cor. 9:7.

A calendar will shortly follow outlining specific activities in which you can relentlessly participate with me during this pilgrimage. Think of it as a Guide for Lent.

Currently, François and Madame’s Community Compound (Church, Schools, & Orphanage Facilities) in Haiti is supported by gifts from friends and family members organized by my daughter and son-in-law Abby and Denny Bain, through the aforementioned ministries of Loving Haiti and Andando.

Their two pressing needs are fund$ to purchase 1) solar panels and a converter to support their electrical needs [the old generator just died] and 2) for beans, rice and oil to support the widows and needy of the church. Currently, the cost of solar panels and converter is $ 9,200, of which $5,000 has been already donated. Whatever is donated for the widows and needy will be used to establish an ongoing beans, rice and oil account to be used for purchasing these items by François and myself while in Haiti.

If you are willing to give you can make a tax-deductable donation by:

  1.  Going to www.andando.org
  2. Click on the tab ‘Donate’ on top of the page.
  3. Click on ‘JustGive’ (not PayPal).
  4. Fill in the needed information (Under ‘Designate My Donation’ make sure to write “Loving Haiti”.
  5. Smile J You’ve just done something awesome!
  6. Optional – Please email my daughter Abby Bain (Abby@LovingHaiti.org) to let her know the amount you have donated because it takes a few days to hear back from JustGive on donations. Sending Abby an email allows us to stay up-to-date on current donations.

Or, address your check to Andando or Doxology (my local church), designating in the memo section – Loving Haiti. Send it to Doxology, P.O. Box 2605, Corvallis, OR. 97339. Thank you for journeying with us on behalf of all those your donation will affect.

I will be Re-lent-less-ly Looking, Listening, Learning, Leveraging and following the Leading of God’s Spirit as He works to fulfill His Purposes, Principles, and Priorities of His Kingdom within François’ Community Compound.

Specifically, I hope to be working on the installation and start-up of the solar panels and converter. Also, I will be assessing and mapping the community needs and matching them to opportunity deeds, by understanding who they are, where they are, and what they believe God has called them to do and become (Change/Project Management). In addition, I will be evaluating how their structures, processes and relationships embody and enact out God’s purposes, principles and priorities.

Please hold a place for me in your prayers and thank you for your support and care toward Francois, Madame and their Community Compound. May God bless you and the Haitian people J.

Re-LENT-less-ly,

Mark R. Bell