I want to start this post off by giving a disclaimer about the title…I do not necessarily think you have to choose between buildings and people. Sometimes you do, but that is not the point of the blog. I simply want to talk about how GOD has changed the direction of All Things New over the past few years to bring us to where we are today. In the next few days I want to write blogs about our upcoming fundraiser, about this past week in Haiti (including our team), about our business sponsorship opportunities, and about the sponsorship drive that we have going on right now. But as I sit here in Haiti thinking about what I need to do tomorrow and what has happened over the past few days and I just want to write this blog that has been on my heart for a while. Just to give some perspective, we are in the process of installing solar panels, an inverter, batteries, and a generator so please use that as the backdrop for the rest of this blog!
Back in the 1980s and 1990s there seemed to be a shift in church life. It was a subtle shift to begin with, but it culminated in what we now call the “mega-church.” There was this push, almost a race, to build the best new building with the best acoustics, the best gym, the best bathrooms, the nicest landscaping, and most of all the nicest auditorium/sanctuary in the “church world.” Many of these projects led to some of the best churches that I have ever visited or been a part of, but just as many led churches into bankruptcy and unable to accomplish the ministry to which they were called.
If you have been with us from the beginning, you probably remember that the first big goal we had as an organization was to purchase land and to begin building on that land. The truth is, if we had continued down that path and with that “vision,” we probably would have been able to purchase land by now and we would probably have already started building on it too. But if you have been with us from the beginning, you also probably know that GOD changed that plan for All Things New towards the very beginning of our ministry. I believe it started when we hired our second employee, Gisele (if you have not read the blog about how this happened, please click here and read this great story that Jess wrote over a year ago). It was really the first time that GOD opened our eyes to how important it was to meet real, tangible needs in the community in which he placed us. Since then, it has become clear that the number 1 physical need in our community (and in Haiti) is job creation. You could ask any person down here what would help Haiti more than anything else and I would guess 100% of people would say jobs. Could we have purchased land and built buildings? Probably. But would 35 less people have jobs right now? Absolutely.
My point in all of this is that after starting All Things New, I now completely understand how you could get caught up in the “race” to build something visible and tangible. As humans, we love to see results. Many people who come down want to do building projects because, when they leave, they can see the fruits of their labor. As missionaries, we can be the same way. It is much easier to tell someone that we purchased 25 solar panels for power, we installed this incredible filter for clean water, or we bought this top of the line generator that will save us gas and money than it is to tell them that we gave a person a job. Donors and supporters can see pictures of a new house much easier than they can see the joy and self-worth that comes with giving someone a job. Just like you can see and play in your new church gym much easier than you can explain to your congregation how their money is going towards discipleship.
All Things New has been extremely blessed by each of you who are reading this blog. Whether you support us through prayer, financially, with ideas, or however else you help us, we have an incredible base of support. One thing, after being down here and learning a lot over the past 3 years, that I can promise you is that we will never put buildings over people! We almost did at the beginning of our ministry, but GOD has showed us so much since then. That does not mean that we will never purchase land or build..we might. But it does mean that All Things New calling to Haiti has nothing to do with how nice our facilities are but everything to do with glorifying GOD in the community where we are located, with our employees, with our kids, and with you…whatever that may look like.
Over the next few weeks and months you are going to see some information about some new initiatives that we are starting here. This does not mean that we are losing our initial focus of taking care of the kids of All Things New, these are in addition to that and they are things that will help our community and in turn our kids! As GOD continues to give us a vision for what He wants us to do here, please continue to pray for wisdom, give so we can accomplish these things, and tell your friends about All Things New so that more people will have the opportunity to get involved. We believe that GOD has called us to these kids first and to our community as a result of that. The biggest need in our community is not another beautiful building on a pristine piece of property. The biggest need in our community is job creation that can keep families together, send children to school, and create other economic opportunities that will be available when our kids have to leave All Things New. Thank you for all you do to help us!