Michelle McKay, Mission Co-worker
How would you describe the mission of our partner in Port-au-Prince, Haiti?
The National Spiritual Council of Churches of Haiti (CONASPEH) works to eliminate the racial, state and religious exclusion of which member churches have been victims and to promote religious, economic, social, moral, and intellectual development in the country.
What is your role in their mission?
My current role is to teach conversational English to students in the Secondre school (12-18yo). I will also support the Bishops in their Children’s Ministry/Education and with a conversational English club. Additionally, I will help to network US/Canada churches with CONASPEH to work on special projects needed at the school and local churches.
What led you to want to serve?
Gal 5:7 “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” My entire life, God has blessed me through the charity of others. As soon as I was able to, I began to show others the love I received freely. I don’t feel that I’m beginning my story of serving; it’s more like continuing to love, just in a different locale. I am tremendously blessed to be able to devote my time and talent to God’s work full time!
Is there a passage of scripture that carries special meaning in your daily work?
Col 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” This verse keeps me in check. No matter how menial the task/job might feel to me, if I’m working for God’s glory - it has significance.
What are some of the challenges facing the people where you serve or our partner?
Currently, the nursing school is awaiting approval on the license to be able to open it doors. Pray that the license is approved in a timely manner (as school has already begun) and for all the students that will attend.
Pray for the Haitian government to stand up and take responsibility for their actions. Pray hard that the government will act in all Haitians best interest to build up the country.
What is a lesson you have learned from our partner that should be shared with churches in the U.S.?
The Haitian culture is beautifully deep and complex. It cannot be summed up in a few news broadcasts, an experience or two, a bestseller or even a lifetime. What I have come to know of Haitians are a brave, resourceful, gracious and patient people who will not be discarded. I am excited to continue to learn more about this country and its people.
But the lessons that that apply the most to me (a few weeks in-country now), is patience and grace. As I am learning to communicate with the people around me, not once has anyone shown any frustration with how slowly I somewhat put sentences together, how I misuse words or when I mispronounce words. They smile, a grin that takes up their whole face, and correct me. It is a grace that in our “busy, me-centered” (Western) worlds we either forget or don’t have the “time for.” My collegues have shown me a perfect an example of Jesus’ infinite patience with others. My hope is to learn the same patience with others and myself.
What are some ways that churches can show support to the people where you serve or our partner?
First and foremost, pray! Prayer is the most powerful tool we humans can weild. Pray for the students’ success in school. Pray for the staff and pastors of the schools. Pray for the leadership to continue to persue God’s heart for His people, to find ways to empower and develop the younger generation to rise up as leaders in their community and country. Pray for all the pastors and church members of CONASPEH that they continue to put God first in all that do.
If someone wants to serve in a physical way, begin with checking their motivations. Is this a short-term mission trip to feel good about helping the “less fortunate?” If so, read When Helping Hurts. Or is it to build lasting relationships based on collaboration to empower Haitians to support themselves, their community and their country? Pray for God’s discernment between the two. Then partner with Global Ministries’ People-to-People team to work with CONASPEH on projects where they have the greatest need. Don’t be afraid to ask - we can use your gift!
Which books have influenced your understanding of your country of service, work, or theology?
- When Helping Hurts; (un)qualified
- 10 Second Rule
Which films that have influenced your understanding of your country of service, work, or theology?
- Vox Borders “One Island, Two Worlds: the story of Haiti and DR”