A School and Well Bring Transformation in Haut Savanette
Haut Savanette, Haiti — This past year marked some great new achievements and positively affected hundreds in the surrounding community of Haut Savanette. Much of this is attributed to Pastor Jacques Francois, who took over the pastoral role at the church and the leadership duties for the school two years ago.
The school year just ended at the beginning of June and saw 107 students attend daily. The number of students represents a small decrease in attendance due to the increased number of free schools the Haitian government has enforced within the last year. This decrease in students along with several infrastructure improvements has led to increased efficiency in the school’s operations. Four teachers currently instruct and Haut Savanette is aiming to add three new teachers for the fall when school begins again. However, having funds to pay quality teachers an appropriate salary in order to retain them remains the greatest challenge.
Infrastructure improvements have impacted the school greatly. A new latrine was constructed and used throughout the school year. Having the latrine on the school property allows the kids continuity throughout the school day and keeps them from leaving the grounds to use the restroom.
Inside the church, a raised area in the front of the sanctuary has created a small physical division between classrooms as well as additional classroom space. This space serves as the pulpit area for both church services and announcements for the school.
Additionally, a new well has been dug and is ready for the pump to be installed. Once operational, this will be a key improvement for usage among the students and help with irrigation of crops grown on the church grounds. The well will also allow expansion of the garden if desired and guarantees easy access to clean water, minimizing illness.
The church is continuing its congregational growth and has flourished since the arrival of Pastor Francois. When he assumed the pastoral role, the congregation hovered around 150 people, but now worships with more than 200 people. Several major contributing factors of his tremendous leadership have led to this growth.
The continuation of the school feeding program continues to be a strong way to pull members of the community into the school, and subsequently, the church. The program has shown to be a quality outreach for each community that has a participating school. The church hired a new activities director aimed at providing new programs to attract and retain youth in the church. This new initiative has been a huge success, and Pastor Francois looks for continued growth using this avenue. His main outreach is to go to the locals in the community and love them. He is tending to people when they are in trouble, sick or struggling, and prays over them and provides encouragement.
The growth of the church is not only happening on here, but at subsequent church plants for which they have been responsible. In 2006, members of Haut Savanette planted a small church several miles up the road in the community of Accacia. Accacia’s church and school has since grown in size to rival the mother church. With such organic growth at hand, Accacia lead the church plant in Clabedgine during 2012. This church plant, like many others, started in a member’s home and quickly grew. With over 25 people regularly attending, a permanent church building is under construction.