When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US and Jacques realized that some of the monthly donors were going to be unable to maintain their usual gifts, he felt himself tremble inside. Would there be enough money to cover the costs of feeding the children and paying the staff? Realizing that the situation was beyond his ability to control, he made an important decision to “give everything to God and trust Him.”
“The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
Only a couple weeks later, Pastor Jeff Riedel from Haitian Christian Projects contacted Jacques to ask him about current needs Source of Life was facing. The result has been an abundant flow of food and supplies being delivered to the Safe House in recent weeks and a donation large enough to cover the costs of painting all the buildings on campus.
Like “manna from heaven,” there have been deliveries of peanut butter, sweet potatoes, corn, tomatoes, eggs, cereal, milk, spinach, beef, goat, and chicken. Cases of hand sanitizer have also been delivered. Our partners with Haitian Christian Projects have not only helped meet the financial need, but their donations of food are helping the children and staff to remain healthy and strong during a time of uncertainty. Should the coronavirus reach the campus of Source of Life Ministries, it will be important that their bodies are well nourished and able to fight against the virus. Source of Life Ministries praises God for His provision through HCP!
How did Jacques and Pastor Jeff Riedel Meet?
When the 2010 Earthquake damaged the original Source of Life Safe House that was in the capital suburb or Carrefour, the children and staff took refuge in a small unfinished house that was situated several blocks away. They had a stable roof over their heads, food and loving care, but the house was small, and the location was not good for raising children. It became clear very quickly to Jacques that the little family would need to be moved somewhere outside the suburb area.
After some available properties were located, a group of men, including Jacques and Pastor Vern, flew to Haiti to consider them. The group of men stayed at a Christian guest house in Gressier; a man named Jeff Riedel was the manager! At the time, they had no idea that God had divinely orchestrated their paths to cross for His purposes! After looking at several other properties, the group visited the current location of the SLM Safe House and immediately felt the peace of God about it. They negotiated with the owner and agreed to purchase the land.
Pastor Jeff visited the small Safe House in Carrefour where the children had been living since the earthquake and realized they needed to get out of a bad situation! He explains that he and Jacques and Jean began to develop a friendship. Though Pastor Jeff had met many other people working in Haiti, he recognized that Jacques and Jean were men of integrity. He remembers inviting the children and staff to visit one of his churches where mangoes were growing on the property, and they had a “mango eating day” together. Pastor Jeff began introducing Jacques and Jean to his friends in the community and helping them make valuable connections.
Who are Jeff & Rita Riedel?
In the early years of their work in Haiti, Pastor Jeff and Rita spent two years living in the country working with other organizations. Later they formed a non-profit organization known as Haitian Christian Projects (HCP). Numerous churches and individuals support their projects with finances and by providing teams to travel to Haiti. With the help of many supporters, Pastor Jeff and Rita have helped build and give oversight to three churches (one with a 600-seat capacity), have built orphanages and a school, a guest house, and many homes. They have seen Voodoo temples torn down as communities were introduced to Jesus. One Voodoo priest decided to move out of one area saying, “I can’t compete with God.”
Pastor Jeff describes himself as “a dumb old farm boy from Ohio who is not smart enough to figure all this out.” He said, “I don’t have the vision; God has it, and He imparts it to me.” Pastor Jeff is very clear that he has no desire for honor or prestige. Something he often tells people is, “You’ve not lived a perfect day until you’ve done something for someone who can never repay you.” His desire in allowing this article to be written is the hope of inspiring others to become involved in The Great Commission.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20).
SLM Projects Supported by Haitian Christian Projects
It was the dream of Jacques’ late brother, Jean Merine, to build a church on the Source of Life property to extend the ministry of Source of Life outside the gates of the Children’s Home to the surrounding community. When Pastor Jeff told Jacques that he was interested in building a church as close as possible to the children’s Safe Home, they had a moment like an Epiphany. They realized there was a flat spot near the entrance to the home that was a perfect location to build a church. Pastor Jeff and a team traveling with him gathered on the location and prayed for God’s direction and favor. Building projects usually take a long time in Haiti, but God miraculously enabled funds to be raised and construction to be completed in record time. Ten months from that original prayer, the first service was held in the new church, Legliz Christienne de Jovin, which means Christian Church of Jovin (Jovin is the name of that area in Gressier.)
After the church had been open less than six months, a problem evolved. So many children were attending the church that adults couldn’t find a chair! This could be called a “good problem,” but it definitely needed to be resolved quickly. One of the churches who support Haitian Christian Projects decided to take on the mission of raising funds for a Children’s Pavilion, and the following summer, it was built.
Haitian Christian Projects fully funds the church and sponsors its ministries in the community; they also cover the school tuition cost for the Source of Life children. Miguerson Haitis was hired to pastor the church and is leading a ministry called, “Hungry Souls.” Through that ministry, he is delivering food every month to help the most vulnerable families in the church. They receive staples like, rice, beans, and cooking oil. A goal is to strengthen the community and break the back of Voodoo in that area. When that happens in a community, the people begin to influence people outside their community.
A Tribute from Jacques
“On behalf of Source of Life Ministries, I want to extend my sincere appreciation to the partners of Haitian Christian Projects for all of your financial help! With your help, our children are able to further their education each school year. Your support for Source of Life is helping our ministry continue to move forward. It is because of your labor and hearts of compassion for Haiti that a church exists on our campus, and Source of Life Ministries is now able to move outside our gates to make a difference in our community.
Pastor Jeff, honestly, from my heart, it’s good to have a brother and caring friend like you! Since you and I have been working together, it has become clear that God made preparations for Source of Life long before He called me. I could not have dreamed I was going to meet you and work with you, but thankfully God already had you in place before He moved Source of Life ministries into the Gressier area! I consider it extremely valuable to have you and Rita “in my corner.” I thank God for the attention, comprehension and commitment He instilled in the two of you. Your compassion shows me the love you have in your heart for the Haitian people. On behalf of the entire ministry, I sincerely THANK YOU for your kindness and willing hearts to invest in Source of Life Ministries!!!” – Jacques Merine
Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. ( Isaiah 25:1)