At God’s Ministry in La Gonave, we believe in ministering to body, mind and soul. We serve the families in our village through prayer and medical attention, through education at our school and in our community, and through our many church programs.
Ybene Dalla is Pastor of Theophile Church in Christ, La Gonave. The church, which is funded by God’s Ministry in La Gonave, is part of an organization of churches in Haiti and the United States. Since 2015, we have partnered with Haitian Ministry Theophile Church in Christ, Inc. (HMTCC), a Haitian-founded and Haitian-run organization that provides support, training and governance to churches such as ours. Their goal (and ours) is to train and raise up Haitian church leaders to provide local discipleship.
Our nondenominational church was founded as the Independent Church of God in the early 2000s by a Haitian-American from Belle Vie who wanted a place to worship in the village. Ybene Dalla became pastor in 2004. In 2009, the church founder passed away.
In 2010, God’s Ministry in La Gonave was founded, and we agreed to partner with the church. In 2011, our church was no longer allowed to meet in the building that was originally built for our use, so in 2011, we purchased land and began meeting in a tent. We also started raising funds to build a new building that would house the church and function as a community center for Belle Vie. We broke ground on the building in 2014, and it was completed and dedicated in May 2015. At that time, we finalized our partnership with HMTCC and renamed the church Theophile Church in Christ, La Gonave.
Today, the church ministers to 150-200 villagers weekly through a series of services, meetings and prayer times, as well as pastoral visits to those who are sick or in need. Here’s what a typical week looks like for Theophile Church in Christ:
- Sunday: Sunday school — 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Service — 9:15am to noon. In the afternoon, we host a Kids’ Club, and we have an informal evening service.
- Tuesday: Early morning prayer service — 4 a.m. to 6 a.m.
- Wednesday: Fasting prayer/worship service — 7 a.m. to around noon
- Thursday: Informal evening service with testimonies
- Friday: Afternoon or evening Bible study
- Saturday: Choir/group rehearsals
Once a month, we have a midnight service, and we have a prison and hospital ministry to pray with and provide food for those who are incarcerated or ill. When possible, ministry funds are used to feed hungry families in our village and to help rebuild our village in times of disaster (e.g. after Hurricane Matthew).
We also host several special services and events to recognize Christmas, New Year and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every year in March, we have a giving or first fruits party at church, and we celebrate the church’s anniversary with a party and a service.
Finally, our congregation takes at least one mission trip per year to another village in need. We are truly a mission on a mission, with each member of our congregation giving as they can to help their neighbors. Everyone in our village is living in abject poverty, but we know that we are called to give sacrificially, and we know that little is much in the hands of God. It’s truly a beautiful sight to see our church members giving in faith to help others.
In addition to church events, our church building is used for community events and meetings, such as medical clinics, World Vision seminars and other community-wide service and social events. Before we built our church building, there was no place to host service organizations that wanted to come to our village. Now, we can partner with other ministries and missions to provide medical care and health education to our village.
What does the future hold for Theophile Church in Christ, La Gonave?
We will continue to do the work God has called us to do in Belle Vie (read our faith and mission statement here). But because there are many people in dire need of help on our island, our long-term goal is to raise enough funds to do more mission trips and to help establish local churches in remote areas of the island that are not served by any other ministry or nonprofit organization. We also want to expand our hospital and prison ministry/mission opportunities. And because Haiti lacks basic health and welfare services, we feel called to provide even more help to the elderly, the infirm and the individuals living with disabilities who must rely on the generosity of their family and neighbors to survive.
Your donations to God’s Ministry in La Gonave will help us continue and expand the life-changing work that has been ongoing in Belle Vie for more than 15 years. Thank you for your support.