Haiti Celebrates 20 Years of Ministry

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September 2019 marked the 20th anniversary for Young Life ministry in Haiti. Last month, I was able to speak with Julie Scott, the regional director in Haiti, and hear about what God has been doing in Haiti for the last 20 years and it is big! 

Haiti is a beautiful, yet impoverished county with very little resources or jobs available. More than half the nation is made up of people under the age of 24, and too often teens turn to the streets and get involved in alcohol, drugs and gang violence. The Haitian Young Life leaders provide a new opportunity and a new life to teens through weekly club meetings, Campaigners and camping, giving Haitian kids an experience they would never have and the opportunity to be shown the love and care of Jesus.Haiti Praying Black and White.jpg

In 1999, three Haitian leaders visited their neighboring country, the Dominican Republic, to see Young Life firsthand in hopes of starting it in their own country. They left discouraged and convinced it wouldn’t work in Haiti. But after much prayer and training, they began to see a vision for their country’s youth, and adopted the motto, “Nou Kapab” — with God’s help we can! 

With this new-found courage, determination and a belief that “with God all things are possible,” they have been reaching out to young people ever since. What began with one club in 1999 has multiplied to 82 clubs in over 62 communities across the island. Now, Young Life in Haiti has 18 national staff, 300 volunteer leaders, 52 graduated Developing Global Leaders (DGL) students and in this last year, 1,500 kids went to camp!
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Billi Dray, Young Life Developing Global Leaders campaign director, was able to attend the 20th celebration and said, "What a gift it has been to be in Haiti and celebrate 20 years of Young Life ministry here. Three hundred leaders gathered to celebrate what happens when God turns what seems impossible into possible! I was able to meet with Young Life global leaders who have graduated, and 10 of the 15 currently enrolled in the program, four of which are new this year to the program. I have no doubt they will grow in their faith and their leadership abilities to change the world around them! While language was a bit of a barrier, our hearts connected on leading kids to Christ!"

Young Life Haiti has also started a women’s leadership network known as MiFYLH (Me-Feel). In a culture where women aren’t given much opportunity, MiFYLH is opening doors and giving young women the confidence and boldness to find their identity and believe they have a purpose on this earth. Every club ministry has a monthly girls club — a safe space for girls to learn, grow and connect. The potential that is being unleashed through MiFYLH has the ability to lift entire Haitian communities out of poverty.Haiti Group Photo.jpg

As alumni of the mission, there are several opportunities for you to be involved in the work happening in Haiti. If you are interested in learning more about Developing Global Leaders, visit the website. There are also opportunities to see the work firsthand by joining one of the two service trips Julie Scott is leading in 2020: 

February 6-10 — Focusing on Girls Campaigners 
May 14-20 — Focusing on All Girls Camp 

To learn more about these trips, or other opportunities to support staff and leaders in Haiti, contact: juliescott5@gmail.com
If you are interested in other international Young Life ministry, contact: aprilmccotter@gmail.com