When should a person be honored?
“It is not when a person dies for you to know his worth, for you to tell him how much you loved him. It is while that person is living that you should tell him how much you love him. Because when he dies, he no longer has breath, and he won’t hear anything that you say to him. It is other people who hear; but he will not hear.
-Gabrielle, February 6, 2019]
The Children at SLM safe home:
Two weeks from now, it will have been a full year since Jacques has been able to travel to Haiti to be with the children. To say that he misses them and that they miss him would be an understatement! Thank God for electronic technology. Coordinated through a multitude of text messages back and forth, the children have been able to participate in sharing their love and honor for Papi Jacques today. Their pictures are posted throughout this blog with the greeting signs they made for him. Hopefully the children will be able to greet Papi Jacques by phone today, and sent a short video clip. The goal for this day is to give honor where it is due. The prayer is that God will use it to bless and encourage our brother in Christ.
Happy Father’s Day, Jacques, from your children in Haiti!
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.”
– Proverbs 3:27 KJV
(Poster: Happy Father’s Day Daddy. In our lives you are a Kingdom Father.)
Thoughts from Pastor Vern Annis:
Over the past 20 years, I have watched Jacque serve the people of Haiti with a true heart of compassion. Ministering in difficult circumstances, such as poverty, hunger, violence and political unrest, can cause even the strongest of men to lose heart, throw up their hands and quit. Yet with every challenge, Jacques has found the strength to continue.
With his most recent venture, the children’s safe home, Jacques has demonstrated what it truly means to be a father to the fatherless. The children call him Papi Jacques. (It is pronounced similar to “Poppy.”) This is not a title that Jacques requires but one lovingly conferred on him by the children. It is a title he has earned caring for and serving children who otherwise would have no one to love them as only a father can. The result of his tireless labor is a true family made up of children who would otherwise not know the safety and care they have received under Jacques’ fatherly guidance. He is a true example of a patient, loving, caring, and protective DADDY.
Happy Father’s Day, Jacques. It has been a pleasure serving alongside you!
-Vern Annis, Thirsty Souls Ministries
Thoughts from Joe Luers:
Last month, when Joe was asked to tell the story of his involvement in helping to establish and support Source of Life Ministries, he gladly shared it with the hope that his story might inspire someone else. However he was very quick to say, “The real story is Jacques; he is a man of faith with a humble spirit. And his passion for Haiti is contagious. Over the years, Jacques and I have had many conversations discussing problems and situations that have been encountered. Without fail, Jacques has ended those conversations by saying, ‘What we’re going to do is trust God.’ And God has always come through.”
Joe has shared Jacques’ story with many people who were being called into ministry but felt unqualified. Joe often mentions that “Jacques does not have the natural talents for the ministry to which God called him, never had the opportunity to experience higher education, isn’t a dynamic speaker, and can sometimes even be difficult to understand because of his heavy accent. What Jacques does have is the ability to do everything he can do with the resources he has available, then put it all in God’s hands. He prays about the funds he is given and asks God to direct him to wisely use them.”
– Joe Luers, Source of Life Advisor
Thoughts from Werner Uhl:
In 1998, Werner and Lori Uhl met Jacques and introduced him to Pastor Vern Annis, which led to the birth of Source of Life Ministries. Both Werner and Lori played big roles in the ministry and made many trips to Haiti becoming personal friends of Jean-Erol Merine, Jacques’ brother and co-founder of SLM. Lori has since been called home to heaven.
In Werner’s words, “Lori was there from day one. She was the one who found Jacques because she worked in HR at a local company where Jacques worked. We were in the process of sponsoring a child from Haiti, and we needed a translator. That’s how the whole thing started (Source of Life). We invited Jacques to speak in our church at Calvary Assembly of God. All it took was a little seed.”
“Today, I honor two brothers and two dads. I was blessed from our Lord to get to know both Jacques and Jean and the big heart they have not only for their own children but for so many more. Happy Father’s Day, Jacques & Jean Erol.”
-Werner Uhl, founding ministry partner
Thoughts from Stan Weidler:
If there was ever a “Father of the Year Contest,” I would nominate Jacques. Not only does he care deeply for his biological family in Pennsylvania, but he also is a father to eighteen children in Haiti. He has poured his life into these children who see him as a father figure that they would never have had. Guided by the Holy Spirit, Jacques is also introducing and discipling the children to get to know their Heavenly Father as well. He is developing quite a legacy that will have eternal consequences. What an inspiration for all of us fathers to admire and emulate!-
Stan Weidler, SLM team leader
“Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever.” – Hebrews 12:9 NLT
A Tribute by Pastor Jeff Riedel:
Being a Father is a special privilege no matter how you arrive there. Jacque has his own children born of his blood to him and his wife. Carson and Tasha are not only special but true blessings from God.
Jacque is also blessed in another way that most of us will never experience. He is a stepdad – not in the traditional sense but in a “unique“ sense. He has taken on a special mentoring position to the children at the Source of Life safe home in Haiti where he has eighteen stepchildren, including one special needs child. Jacque has a “unique” place in the heart and life of each of the children as he works tirelessly to provide for them through Source of Life Ministries. He truly has a full-time “dad-job” both in Pennsylvania and in Haiti!
We have a saying in our ministry at Haitian Christian Projects that goes like this: “You’ve not lived a perfect day until you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” Jacque offers himself as an instrument of the Lord to those children….asking for nothing in return. Jacque is their coach, mentor, and life-giver. He offers them Jesus-qualities such as sensitivity, empathy, compassion, humility and unconditional love. And the wonderful thing about that is that all his children know that.
After Jacques’ brother was called home, Jacques stepped-in and stepped-up. He accepted the challenges (and there are hundreds) of being a father-figure to the least of these. The children need him as they also face many challenges living in a Third World country that is rife with Voodoo, poverty, and violence where there is no prospect for a better tomorrow. But Jacques offers them hope by teaching them about Jesus Christ. Jacques is the conduit of hope that leads the children to saving grace.
I want us all to fully understand that Jacques is a model to be admired and emulated. Next time you talk with him, please tell him how special he really is. Encourage him and support him. It’s not every day you meet two dads all rolled into one. It’s not easy to be one dad, but to be two is quite “unique”. Jacque gets to “live a perfect day” each and every day….doing something for someone who will never be able to repay him…..because he is a dad!
Someone asked me, “Do you think you will see Jacques in heaven, Pastor Jeff?” My reply -was, “I don’t think so because I’ll be so far away from the throne of our compassionate Christ, and Jacques will be on the front row so near God that I won’t be able to see that far.” That’s our Jacques! When we all get to heaven, just go past the “Best Dad” section. You will find him there.
Happy Father’s Day, my dear friend and brother in Christ. There will be a magnificent jewel in your crown….one day.
– Jeff Riedel, Haitian Christian Projects