img_3827The news of the 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince reached me and I found myself scrambling to find a way to get there. My heart was moved by the prompting of the Holy Spirit to go and be used.  That first trip occurred four weeks after the tragedy.  For years I had an interest in going on a short term trip to Haiti, but this put wings to my initial dream and vision.

That first trip was filled with experiences and emotion. Two weeks of shock and an unmatched devastation. The days of hot weather and manual labor were intense and seemingly endless. The nights consisted of mosquitoes, dogs fighting, and poor rest. The orphanage that we lived at and worked on added many other emotional stresses.
The amount of orphaned children and their living condition was so sad. jay.JPGWith our time almost up and our efforts mostly complete we, as a team, decided to go out to
the masses. They were living in tent cities at the crumbled Presidential Palace where we prayed for and shared the love of Jesus with them. That simple outreach, that small moment in time birthed a fire to serve God and serve Haiti. The response was overwhelming. With a small crowd of 50 to 75 onlookers there were lines of anxious people wanting to be prayed for and/or welcome Jesus as Savior of their heart.

My flight home to California was a conflicting combination of relief from the madness and a sadness for the country and its condition. How can I go home and continue on with my life knowing what I know? Why go back to Haiti? It’s an unfixable mess of corruption, poverty, disease, generations of spiritual darkness and oppression. There are virtually no jobs, no infrastructure and well… no hope. That thought was instantly confronted with a statement by God in my head: “Where you’re headed, America, is also hopeless without Me. You possess hope. Take my Son back to the hopelessness.”

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Eight years and 14 trips later the vision has taken shape. God is so good. Countless hundreds of lives have been ministered to. Many received Jesus as Savior, as have many rededicated their lives to Him. Hundreds of orphans have received gifts, food and clothing every trip. Pastors raised up, street people and street children fed, clothed and loved. So many things have come to pass. The greatest being the birth of three church plants, land acquisition and a vision for many more. Also vision for schools, child sponsorship, raising up more pastors and leaders, raising and sending missionaries and God only knows what else!

I am so grateful for the thrilling ride! For the gift of meeting and spending quality, cherished time with so many people from around the globe. Humbled with the honor to be used by my God, being such a flawed man. Humbled to serve the least, the lost, the unknown, unfamous, the hurting and the hopeless and offer the true gift of hope. The same gift we all as followers in Christ possess. I can only imagine – and yet I can’t even imagine – all that is still to come.

-Jay Bowen

A little more about Jay & more pics

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